The Artist Hard At Work 2016

Medical Notebook Day 37

Writing and outlining information

Red & blue pen

yellow, pink and blue highlighters

body drawing by

Data accumulation

Areej Kaoud

60 pages Published book

Edited by Yasmina Reggad

Designed by Tulip Hazbar

Images courtesy to the artist

The Artist Hard At Work 2016 debuted from the misconception around what the artist does and how is someone an artist. This simple question a non-artist asks ‘so what do you do all day?’ became humorous. Working hard as a response became physically working out the entire residency in my studio space, all the while developing many elements that articulate the process my body is undergoing. I created an archive of videos of exercise trainers from the Middle East that appear on Middle Eastern television, three trainers were chosen, one from Jordan, the others from Iran and Turkey. One video was picked from each trainer’s video collection and every day I followed one of the three chosen in a consecutive order. Realizing the state of my body before a workout and after are very different, recorded voice notes before a workout were collected, and physical sensations were recorded on paper after every exercise session. Using a medical body vector from , I created 60 medical pages outlining muscular and skeletal sensations of my body transforming from Day 1 until Day 60. In my notes, the medical names of muscles and the skeleton are used to address all body sensations.


Alongside this process of me the artist introducing the domestic into the studio space and encountering a non-audience on a daily basis, I decided to become the trainer and develop a workout session as performance with exercises derived from gestures of the artist life in studio. This work engages with notions of repetition, body memory, private and public space as well as labor. I performed these exercises on February 8th at Tashkeel Dubai. The performance was followed by a conversation between myself and Delfina Foundation Director Aaron Cezar, chaired by AiR Dubai Curator Yasmina Reggad. The panel discussed performance art in the MENA region.


Near the end of the residency a 23-minute video was shot called The Artist Hard At Work workout. All parts come together to formulate this process of my body literally working hard, transforming and researching all the while. This work was launched May 2016 from Delfina Foundation in London.


Copyright © Areej Kaoud 2023