I Belong to the Distance, 2019

Torkwase Dyson
I Belong to the Distance, 2019
Wood, graphite, string, dimensions variable
Installation view: Sharjah Biennial 14: ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation
Courtesy of the artist


In works of formal and conceptual rigour, Torkwase Dyson explores the language of spatial constructs as demarcations of both confinement and expression. Her forms address the continuity of infrastructure, geography and architecture as they relate to potential movement and perception.

Located at the edge of Kalba Ice Factory in a portion of peninsular land that meets the Gulf of Oman, I Belong to the Distance (2019) juxtaposes the built environment, the arrangement of people and the landscape’s natural resources. The site-specific installation combines modern architectural vernacular, sculptures and improvisational mark-making to question perceptions of the unseen surrounding the built environment. From a distance, six serial sculptures appear monolithic, but from a closer vantage point, each work reorients sightlines toward the wetland ecosystems leading out to the Gulf of Oman and then to the Indian Ocean. The incessant desire to develop the land, as witnessed in the relentless expansion of the built environment in modern times, is also indelibly tied to the global transformation of oceans into freighter superhighways and cities into thermal heat islands. The artist’s work directs attention to the precarious existence of these biophysical systems as well as the body’s capacity to command (through forms of activism) or disrupt (through protest and fugitive practices) the sprawling geographic distances in which these figures run.

As part of her exploration of notions of weight, mass, scale and frequency in relation to the body, Dyson has invited artists Andres L. Hernandez and Zachary Fabri, her collaborators in the collective Dark Adaptive, to perform with her in response to her SB14 installation, embodying ideas for cultural and political transformation in real time.

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I Belong to the Distance (2019)

Dyson, Torkwase

Working in multiple mediums, Torkwase Dyson describes herself as a painter whose forms address the continuity of ecology, geography, infrastructure and architecture.