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Poor Toy




Exhibition Type:

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Tuesday, 11 June 2019 to Sunday, 25 August 2019
Monday, 10 June 2019 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

Poor Toy
Nadim Abbas
11 June - 25 August 2019, VITRINE, Basel
Preview: Monday 10 June, 7-11pm
Brunch/Artist In-Conversation: Thursday 13 June 2019, 11-12am

VITRINE, Basel Vogesenplatz, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
Daily 24-hour view from square and by appointment. twitter: @vitrinegallery Facebook: VitrineGallery Instagram: vitrinegallery

“Look at your body—

A painted puppet, a poor toy

Of jointed parts ready to collapse,

A diseased and suffering thing

With a head full of false imaginings.”
 - The Dhammapada


VITRINE, Basel is delighted to present a solo exhibition of work by Hong Kong-based artist Nadim Abbas. Abbas’ work encompasses installation, photography, performance, and sculpture, incorporating references from the domestic and the every day to explore how contemporary living conditions have produced particular psychological patterns, trends, and subcultures.

For ‘Poor Toy’, Abbas positions the domestic space as a site of horror. Using groupings of flatpack furniture, objects fabricated and sourced from IKEA and local second-hand stores, Abbas will arrange a supernatural domestic environment within VITRINE’s gallery space, which is sited on and visible from the public square. The objects will be “hacked,” with constructed materials or appendages attached to change their structure. Drawing heavily from the IKEA aesthetic that pervades homes around the world, the installation will embody the bland banality of this shared domestic language.

Alongside these sculptural arrangements, drawings and prints will be displayed throughout the space. These hybrid works on paper will reference technical architectural drawings and flooor plans, operating in conversation with the groupings of furniture.

Abbas’ work draws thematic inspiration from literature, science, and psychology. Weaving together historical and contemporary references from the horror genre, ‘Poor Toy’ pays homage to writers such as H. P. Lovecraft, whose short stories and novels frequently explore the domestic as a site for disturbing exchanges with supernatural forces.

Abbas’ rich and varied research is the driving force behind his making. Ultimately, though, the making process liberates the objects from the weight of these references, allowing the work to hold space and meaning independent of the research that inspired it.



VITRINE promotes a new model of exhibition-making. Exhibitions are viewable 24/7 through the glass from the public square. Internal viewing room is open by appointment,

Curator :


Artist ( Description ): 

Nadim Abbas (b. 1980, Hong Kong, China) received his BFA from London’s Chelsea College of Art & Design (2002) and MPhil from the University of Hong Kong Department of Comparative Literature. He was awarded the Hyde Park Art Center Residency, Chicago, USA (2018); Asian Cultural Council Altius Fellowship and the HK Arts Development Award (Young Artist / Visual Arts) in 2014. His site-specific public sculpture ‘P-SCAPE’ was communised at Tai Kwun Prison Yard, Hong Kong (2018).

Recent solo exhibitions include: Blue Noon, Last Tango, Zurich, CH (2017); Camoufleur, VITRINE, London (2017); Chimera, Antenna Space, Shanghai (2016); The Last Vehicle, UCCA, Beijing (2016); #4, Holy Motors, HK (2016); Zone I, The Armory Show, Armory Focus: China, New York (2014); Satellite of ⁂, CL3 Architects, HK Arts Centre, HK (2013); Tetraphilia, Third Floor Hermés, Singapore (2013); and Marine Lover, ARTHK11 Special Projects (2011).

Recent group exhibitions and performances include: 4 Rooms, Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, CN (2018/2019); 7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art (2017/2018); Bubble <3, Munich Biennale, Munich, DE (2018); Milieu, Bern, CH (2017); Only the Lonely, inCube Arts, New York (2016); China 8: Views of China, NRW Forum, Düsseldorf (2015); Triennial: Surround Audience, New Museum, New York (2015); Unseen Existence: Dialogues with the Environment in Contemporary Arts, HK Arts Centre, HK (2014); Going, going, until I meet the tide, Busan Biennale (2014); The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2014); Apocalypse Postponed, Absolut at Art Basel Hong Kong (2014); and Where Narrative Stops, Wilkinson Gallery’, London (2013). Abbas was included in Omar Kholeif’s recent publication ‘The Artists Who Will Change the World’ (2018, published by Thames and Hudson).

Venue ( Address ): 

VITRINE, Basel Vogesenplatz, 4056 Basel, Switzerland

VITRINE , London

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