Hassan Sharif’s practice involved selecting and cutting or tying banal, everyday materials together to strip them of their original functions. In Cutting and tying no.2 2015, Sharif cuts rope into small pieces ensuring that it can no longer tie or bind. In this work, the artist contrasts the flawless, factory-made object with the irregularity of the handmade. The trace of a human hand can be seen in the way the wool has been unevenly wrapped around the rope, while the machine-made nature of the rope is evident in the precise and even twists of its woven strands. Sharif created his artworks through a systematic yet simple set of actions that anyone could undertake, and his approach reinforced his belief in a democratic approach to art.
Many of Sharif’s sculptures – or ‘objects’, as he called them – take the form of large mounds or ‘piles’ of mass-produced items. The ‘pile’ references the abundant goods seen on the ground and on tables in local marketplaces around the United Arab Emirates, where the artist purchased his materials. Sharif found the random arrangements of market goods a refreshing contrast to the ordered displays found in museums.