Supported by the Arts Council and Wicklow County Council


Bassam Issa Al-Sabah
you are in heaven but suddenly everything begins to burn
June–September 2024
Kunstverein Aughrim

you are in heaven but suddenly everything begins to burn is the title of a new exhibition by artist Bassam Issa Al-Sabah. The project conjures a bleak speculative future, brought to life through video, sculptural and olfactory installation. The narrative within Al-Sabah’s work foretells an inescapable dystopia, built on the ruins of capitalism amid total ecological collapse. This desolate world leaks from the digital realm back into our present-day bodies through the molecules of a perfume, the pixels of an image and the decibels of a soundscape. 

The scent at the centre of this exhibition was developed during a perfume workshop as part of a Micro Residency at Cow House Studios, convened by the artist in collaboration with Kunstverein Aughrim in May 2024.

Join us from 3–5pm on Saturday 29 June for the Summer Preview with Bassam Issa Al-Sabah, for a chance to smell the new fragrance created specially for the exhibiton, as part of a special reception with the artist, amid the local festivities of Aughrim’s Craic in the Granite Music & Arts Festival 2024.

you are in heaven but suddenly everything begins to burn is on view throughout Summer 2024, closing on 1 September. The exhibition may be visited during our opening hours 10am–5pm, Thursday–Sunday by appointment. Please email to schedule your visit.

About the artist:
Bassam Issa Al-Sabah works across digital animation, painting, sculpture and textiles creating visions of resistance, transformation and queer possibility. Recent exhibitions include: Uncensored Lilac, in collaboration with Jennifer Mehigan at Silent Green, Transmediale, Berlin (2024), IT'S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE TAKE THIS!, The Douglas Hyde Gallery of Contemporary Art, Dublin (2022), I AM ERROR, Gasworks, London (2021), and De La Warr Pavilion, Sussex (2022); Dissolving Beyond The Worm Moon, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan (2019); and Illusions of Love Dyed by Sunset, The LAB Gallery, Dublin (2018). Recent group exhibitions include Queer Embodiment and Social Fabric at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2021-2022), The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon (2021) and Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (2020). Recent screenings include the Barbican, London (2022), Transmediale, Berlin (2021), EX-IS, South Korea (2021) and Jeu de Paume, Paris (2021). Al-Sabah's work is part of collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Arts Council of Ireland and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. In 2021 he received the Golden Fleece Award and he is currently a studio member at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios.

This new commission is produced by Kunstverein Aughrim in collaboration with the Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely, and supported by Wicklow County Council Arts Festival Award Scheme and The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, as part of the Craic in the Granite Music & Arts Festival 2024.

Kunstverein Aughrim’s ongoing collaboration with Bassam Issa Al-Sabah is made possible with the support of The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.