Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII-X

Karthik Pandian & Andros Zins-Browne
with Zakaria Almoutlak

October 10 – November 3, 2019
Thursday to Saturday: 4–8pm
Sunday: 2–6pm

Sunday, October 13, 2–6pm

Conversation between Aruna D'Souza & Matthew Jesse Jackson
Thursday, October 17, 7pm

Zakaria Almoutlak is a Syrian sculptor and refugee living in Belgium. Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII–X renders the banalities and atrocities of his life through sculpture and vocal performance. Artist Karthik Pandian and choreographer Andros Zins-Browne have been working with Almoutlak since 2017, incorporating fragments of his story into the previous acts of Atlas Unlimited.

In Belgium, 2018, Almoutlak carved a sculpture from a block of limestone before destroying it in the climactic finale of Acts I–III. In Acts V–VI, a conservator pieced the shattered body of the sculpture back together in Chicago. Over the four weeks of the exhibition at 80 Washington Square East, the sculpture will be disintegrated and reanimated, yet again. Refused entry to the U.S. due to the 2017 travel ban, Almoutlak’s presence will be conjured by the voices of Ganavya Doraiswamy and Aliana de la Guardia, who will be singing for the duration of the show. Drawing on karnātik, operatic, and pop vocal traditions, the singers evoke the convulsions of Almoutlak’s life through a libretto co-authored by Pandian, Zins-Browne, and Almoutlak. 


Program notes (pdf)        Performa 19 Biennial

Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII–X is made possible by the generous support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Cheswatyr Foundation. Previous iterations of Atlas Unlimited have been hosted by Logan Center Exhibitions (Chicago), Precarious Pavilions (Belgium), and Netwerk Aalst (Belgium). Acts VII–X were supported by residencies at Certain Bird (Vermont) and the ArtLab at Harvard University. Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII–X is curated by Nicola LeesSpecial thanks to designer Casey Lurie and conservator Daniela Murphy Corella. 

Thanks to Jane Foley, Katie Soule, Sien Van Dycke, Menna Khalil, Maryam Taghavi, Eve O’Shea, Shao Lei, Chester Ong, Emily Wasserman, Rebekah Brooks, Lisa E. Harris, Jay Scheib, Gaia Carabillo, Marcus Warren, Peter Reese, Maren Greinke and the students of the HFBK Dresden, Gabe Moreno, Sherry Diaz and the students of the Design Apprenticeship Program at Arts + Public Life, Anthony Adcock, Nerses Vardanyan, Ilyas Odman, Sami Ismat, Tasha K. Vorderstrasse, Makhlouf, De Loizemaanen, Tim Vanhentenryk, Kate Smith, Jaclyn Johnston, Liz Perlman, Christopher Phillipp, Julia Kennedy, Sarah Herda, Ellen Hartwell Alderman, Ava Barrett, Victoria Brooks, Marta Miller, Bree Edwards, Yesomi Umolu, Katja Rivera, Els Silvrants-Barclay, Michiel Vandevelde, Aruna D’Souza, Jon Huron, Chloe Truong-Jones, Fala Al Urfali, Olivia Andrews, Will Greenberg, Eva Cilman, Roxanna DeLeon, Priscilla Modesto, Alyx Runyon, Amelia Reardon, Rob Servo, Zach Landsberg, Lucas Quigley, Paige K. Johnston and Kennis Hawkins.


Karthik Pandian (b. 1981, Los Angeles) has held solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Betonsalon, Paris; Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; White Flag Projects, St. Louis, among others. His work was featured in the inaugural Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum and La Triennale: Intense Proximity at the Palais de Tokyo as well as in group exhibitions such as Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015 at Whitechapel Gallery; Film as Sculpture at Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; and the 4th Marrakech Biennial, Higher Atlas. In 2016, he premiered his first stage performance, Atlas Revisited, a collaboration with choreographer Andros Zins-Browne at EMPAC in Troy, NY and has since been collaborating with Zins-Browne on Atlas Unlimited. Pandian holds an MFA from Art Center College of Design and a BA from Brown University. He lives in Harvard, MA and works in Cambridge, MA where he teaches video, sculpture and performance at Harvard University.

Andros Zins-Browne (b. 1981, New York) is a choreographer who lives and works between New York City and Brussels. His work – at the intersection of installation, performance, and dance – twists the categories of virtuality and embodiment. His solo performance Already Unmade, where he practices the ‘unmaking’ of his own performance archive, was commissioned by the Boghossian Foundation and has been performed at BOZAR Museum, Brussels, The Whitney Museum in New York, the Rockbund Museum in Shanghai, and the Fondation Galeries Lafayette for Festival d’Automne in Paris. In collaboration with choreographer Will Rawls, Andros has recently presented two 'remixes' – one on the work of video artist Tony Cokes, commissioned by the 10th Berlin Biennial and of ‘See-Saw’ by avant-garde choreographer Simone Forti at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Atlas Unlimited – a series of exhibitions in collaboration with artist Karthik Pandian – addresses movement, destruction, and re-construction through sculpture and performance. Other group and solo shows both on stage and in exhibition spaces include a.o.-Centre Pompidou, Paris; De Singel, Antwerp; EMPAC, Troy, NY; ICA, London; Kaaitheater, Brussels, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. In 2013, Zins-Browne founded The Great Indoors, an association for artistic research and production.

Zakaria Almoutlak (b. 1986, Homs) is a Syrian sculptor with refugee status in Brussels, Belgium. He worked with his father in an atelier in Homs sculpting in the Palmyrene tradition until the civil war broke out. His father’s cousin is Khaled Al-Assad, the archeologist and former head of antiquities in Palmyra. Almoutlak was deeply involved in the revolution. After suffering an injury during a bombing in his home city, he began his journey to Europe. In early 2017, he received refugee status in Belgium. Almoutlak is a volunteer for several organizations that work with refugees, and a board member of the Brussels-based non-profit organization Refugees Are Not Alone (RANA). He is a key collaborator of artists Karthik Pandian and Andros Zins-Browne on their project, Atlas Unlimited, a series of exhibitions in Brussels, Antwerp, Chicago, and now, New York City.


Follow the project and watch live-streamed performances on Instagram @atlasunltd