A Panorama of Contemporary Syrian Art
Exhibition: January 22 – April 14, 2019
Venue: Maison des arts de Malakoff, 105 Avenue du 12 Février 1934, 92240 Malakoff, France
The exhibition is organized with the collaboration of the collective Portes ouvertes sur l’art contemporain syrien
The exhibition « Où Est La Maison De Mon Ami ? » (Where Is My Friend’s House?) brings together the work of some twenty Syrian artists at the Maison des Arts, a center for contemporary art in Malakoff: drawings, paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and photographs convey a multitude of singular and sensitive views on the question of war, loss and forced exile, but also revolt, hope and reconstruction.
Exhibiting Artists: Ola Abdallah, Azza abo Rebieh, Dino Ahmad Ali, Najah Al Bukai, Bissane Al Sharif, Akram Al Halabi, Nour Asalia, Tammam Azzam, Khaled Barakeh, Diala Brisly, Walaa Dakak, Khaled Dawwa, Walid El Masri, Iman Hasbani, Sulafa Hijazi, Nagham Hodaifa, Randa Maddah, Collective Masasit Mati, Mohamad Omran, Khaled Takreti, Reem Yassouf.
With its title as a wink to the eponymous film directed in 1987 by Abbas Kiarostami, the exhibition highlights what connects the works of Syrian artists together: all these achievements symbolize in their own way a house inhabited by deafening noises, pain, questioning, mental and visual shocks, but also silences, moments of sweetness and dreamlike escapades. Whether sculptures, installations, videos, paintings, drawings or photographs, just as a house welcomes and protects and as a friend supports and consoles, art offers all this by sublimating the experience.
For their film entitled Missing Sky, directed in 2014, Bissane Al Charif and Mohamad Omran captured in stop motion the progressive destruction of large scale models of cities, reflecting the destruction of Syrian cities that was taking place day after day. The paintings that Akram Al Halabi has made since Vienna in Austria, where he settled in 2010, refer to the violence that reaches him from far away from Syria, his homeland. The human figure appears haunted by the tragedy of war, by games of superimposition where the dead and the living are merged, the beautiful and the disfigured, the dream and the nightmare.
Paintings by Akram Al Halabi, photomontages by Tammam Azzam, drawings by Khaled Takreti
Tammam Azzam’s series of photomontages entitled Bon Voyage shows buildings ravaged by the conflict as large bunches of multicoloured balloons rise them high into the sky. If the image could be poetic, it carries here rather a disillusioned and critical vision: here, the sky in which the ripped apart buildings fly seems to be obscured by storms to come, elsewhere, the buildings fly over emblematic places such as the London Parliament and the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva …
With his ink drawings on paper entitled Baluchons, Khaled Takreti ‒a major figure of the Syrian art who influenced a generation of contemporary Arab artists‒ takes up the symbol of nomadism and exile par excellence: the backpack. The black patterns on a white background they adorn refer to traditional decorative elements, while here taking on the dimension of a kind of mourning.
Translation into English: Danii Kessjan