The artist bundled together dozens of monochrome hand towels that he would arrange in rows and columns, creating frothy sculptures that bear an influence from abstract painting. Evidently, Sharif worked in an obsessive-compulsive manner, accumulating mountains of material that he would work through in order to create his artworks.
Accumulation applies to much of Sharif 's output. 'Hats' (2016), one of the last works he made, is a huge, suspended mass of hundreds of hats joined together by black ropes. Arranged in a sphere, it is like a hymn to femininity and colour. Nearby, 'Knots' (2012-2016), made from tightly knotted white rope, cascades like a waterfall. A silver column, '555 Pillar' (2016) has been ingeniously conceived from mounting thousands of ready-made trays. Meanwhile, brightly coloured wall pieces, again showing a painterly sensibility, have been fashioned from countless zips and pouches.
Pulling at things, toying with them, and using his hands to negotiate them seemed to have a cathartic effect on Sharif. For instance, 'Dictionary' (2015) – a wall sculpture formed from a flow of pages ripped out of dictionaries – belies how Sharif was compelled to improve his English whilst studying at the Byam Shaw School of Art (since merged with Central St Martins) in London and adopted the habit of poring over dictionaries. Referring to his sculpture, 'Weaving' (2016), composed of stainless steel sheets woven together, he remarked, “Weaving is like pulling pages out of a dictionary.”
Like a mini retrospective, the exhibition provides a carefully considered overview of Sharif's work and his contribution to global art.