Salma Al Najem – Suicide and Redemption

Salma Al Najem – Suicide and Redemption

Salma Al Najem – Suicide and Redemption

Photos: Hady Elcott

Salman Al Najem’s work is a dialogue that questions issues related to important parts of the human experience. Salman aims to redirect humankind’s attention from mortal desires, fascination with material wealth and luxury, mediocrity, vanity and environmental corruption. In an optimistic manner his works aim to illuminate the importance of self mastery, spiritual connectivity, mindful-sensitivity, righteousness, virtuosity and environmental sustainability.  

 

In Salman Al Najem’s “Suicide & Redemption” series, painted images allude to portray Al Najem’s internal frustrations and experiences in the Arab Peninsula’s new age, by creating works he considers to be contemporary Islamic Art.  Al Najem’s practice and style, imaginaries are conjured from blackness, designating timely subjects to both the culmination of all light, wisdom and consciousness, as well as the lack of perception which ultimately leads to indulgence, ignorance and darkness.  Through his own life, the series simulates a process of redemption through real and unearthly experiences articulating the artists’ trajectory of re-emergence from the obscurity between light (knowledge and reclamation) and gloom (helplessness and uncertainty).  

 


The exhibition ‘Suicide & Redemption’ aims to take the viewer on the journey of a person who at a young age contemplates the idea of living, tries to find reason of why we live life. His sensitive connection to the negative, allows him to study how those around him choose to live. Al Najem affirms through his works, that the person lets go of cultural and dogmatic constraints and values. In a place of liberation the person finds his unique connection with the divine, and commits to the death he thought he sought.  

 

Art of Dying (2019) Emulsion, household gloss, spray paint, & oil bar on canvas 170 x 285 cm. © Courtesy of the artist.

 

The obscure entrapment manifests within the layers of each painting, projecting the expansion of new age experiences and its tensions with traditional beliefs and social application of religion in the Arab Gulf region.  

 

 

Each piece is composed of anatomical, metaphysical and culturally celebratory icons expressing the corruption and hypocrisy of knowledge in our time and the folding of socio-cultural and psychological evolutions of culture social application of religion in the region. 

Atrophy or hero of the day (2019) Emulsion, household gloss, oil pastel, spray paint, coloured pencil & graphite on canvas 170 x 113cm. © Courtesy of the artist.

Delving into a mystical and growing inner awareness of life and death as reflected in daily events and symbolism, Al Najem presents an anti-narrative concerning money, time, mortality, idolism, dogma, fantasy and mortality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water & Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution: Art in the HK Protests

Water & Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution: Art in the HK Protests

Water & Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution: Art in the HK Protests

Kacey Wong, The Shield (performance), 2019

The exhibition in Paris is inspired by the plethora of recent creations by various artists and the Hong Kong public during the recent protests against police violence and authoritarianism. The leaderless movement and its fluid, innovative tactics in Hong Kong have impressed the world. The unwritten guiding principle of this decentralised movement, ‘Be Water’, was inspired by the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee’s philosophy, ‘Be formless, shapeless, like water…Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.’ 

Badiucao, Bruce Lee Lennon Wall (b), 2019

The majority of the artists contributing to the exhibition are from Hong Kong. Witnessing the struggle and suffering of the people in their hometown, they turned to art as their way of expression. In face of Hong Kong’s dwindling liberty, they are determined not to be silenced. Such determination echoes a popular quote among protesters from Jack London, renowned novelist, journalist and social activist, ‘I would rather be ashes than dust! …The function of man is to live, not to exist.’ 

Revolving around the fluidity of the movement and the resolute determination of protesters, Water and Ashes brings Hong Kong’s fight for freedom and democracy to Paris through a variety of mediums. Some artists and their works were directly involved in the protests—either performed live in protest areas, or as protest materials or interactive art, from Victoria Park to Hong Kong International Airport. Others, through poetry, photography, digital paintings and illustrations, present their perspectives and express their emotions as they watch their city burn. The exhibition also features works of a French artist and an American artist, testimony to fact that ideas are not only bulletproof but also go beyond boundaries. 

Harcourt Romanticist, Our Vantage, 2019

What’s the drive for the explosion of creativity among the Hong Kong public and protesters? The relationship between resistance, consciousness, life, and creativity is at the heart of this exhibition’s philosophy. Resistance is something visible in protests while it is the major invisible force underlying the development of contemporary art—which is about resistance of what the traditions or authorities deem normal, matched with an insistence on thinking and expressing freely and out of the box. Therefore, resistance is about questioning the existing order. While the authorities accuse the Hong Kong protesters of instigating chaos in society, the real question is, ‘order is certainly contingent, but in relation to what’? Order is a constructed and fluid concept, which evolves and is criticised, challenged and modified throughout our human history. Questioning as well as a subversion of order, embedded with our creativity, does not imply a necessary antagonism between order and chaos, between norms and anomie; rather, it ensures our society to be free and open, enabling a genuine diversity of cultures and social orders.

Justin Wong, I See You, 2019

Consciousness is indispensable not only in any social changes, but also in creativity. As consciousness corresponds exactly to the living being’s power of choice and is coextensive with the fringe of possible action that surrounds the real action, consciousness is synonymous with invention and with freedom. 

Philosopher Henri Bergson equates life with creation while creativity is central to life for Gilles Deleuze as what he called ‘becoming’. Thus, while political movement may be traumatic, the creativity out of this batter for freedom is leading to transformation of the social and art scenes. The exhibition is an initial attempt to witness such creative evolution, if not revolution.

Tommy Fung, Hungry Ghost Festival, 2019

 

Exhibited artists:

  • Alcohol Salon, Hong Kong
  • Alice Kahei Yu, Hong Kong
  • Badiucao, Australia
  • Chan Sai Lok, Hong Kong
  • Diana Wege, United States
  • Fung Kin Fan, Hong Kong
  • Harcourt Romanticist, Hong Kong
  • Hector Bouhier, France
  • Him Lo, Hong Kong
  • Justin Wong, Hong Kong
  • Kacey Wong, Hong Kong
  • Lumli Lumlong, Hong Kong
  • Nicola Longobardi, Hong Kong
  • RC Team, Hong Kong
  • Tommy Fung, Hong Kong
  • Vivian Ho, Hong Kong
 

Water and Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution
3-7 December 2019
DOC, 26 rue du Dr Potain, 75019 Paris, France
Vernissage | 3 December 2019, 6:30-9:30pm

 

 

“What my I’s have seen”, by Koby Martin in London

“What my I’s have seen”, by Koby Martin in London

“What my I’s have seen”, by Koby Martin in London


Alone With Company

For his solo exhibition show, WHAT MY I’S HAVE SEEN, Koby Martin, Ghanaian-born painter, (b.1988) based in London, is collaborating with both The Who Gallery and Disturbing London for his most personal and intimate exhibition to date.

After revealing to his audience his most innermost thoughts about the tragic death of this Father through his previous show ASIAMAH, Koby will be continuing to divulge the depths of his mind to visually portray, through the medium of painting, a very humanistic outlook on his own life.

Kings

 

He is dealing with darker themes of depression, turmoil, and uncertainty in balancing contrast to the theme of hope and light. He is able to capture and reach out to his audience on a fundamentally primitive level denoting his ability to depict the vulnerable and emotional state of the human mind.

His unique styles have brought him to the attention of the British art scene as well as numerous commercial audiences through his collaboration with notable brands such as Mercedes- Benz.

Dancing with fear

WHAT MY I’S HAVE SEEN
November 28- December 1, 2019
The Who Gallery, London, UK

 

Miguel Chevalier Digital Supernova at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez

Miguel Chevalier Digital Supernova at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez

Miguel Chevalier <i>Digital Supernova</i> at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez

Chevalier will be exhibiting a new  generative virtual reality installation. Thirty different colored networks of light, combine with beautiful pictures explosions of massive stars and supernova remnant, develop one after the other. For this monumental creation between art and science, Miguel Chevalier worked with astrophysicist Fabio Acero, a specialist in supernova remnant to create a virtual reality projection that brings viewers outside of their reality and transcend the walls of the church to the projected astral heavens above. 

In part with the Siècle Soulages, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez will present the large-scale art installation of renowned digital artist— Miguel Chevalier. The exhibition titled Digital Supernova, will be on view from August 8-18 on the vaults, ogives, and transepts of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez in Rodez, France— an exhibition from a larger program of events celebrating 100 years of the artist Pierre Soulages. Chevalier previously showed another installation Pixels Noir in April at the Soulages Museum as another event of this program.

The installation combines not only Chevalier’s recognizable generative realities and light networks but also brings viewers into this virtual world through the music of Jacopo Baboni Schilingi, Adam Bernadac, and for the opening — Frédéric Deschamps. A long collaborator, Schilingi has worked hand in hand on  numerous installs by Chevalier. Combining visual visions and fantasies with music audiences are brought into the seemingly endless astral realms of Chevalier’ universe in the gothic structures of the cathedral.

Installation View of Digital Supernova at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez.

Enthusiasts of Chevalier may find Digital Supernova reminiscent of his 2015 installations  Complex Meshes and Dear World… Yours, Cambridge installation in Durham Cathedral and King’s College Chapel in England. It seems Chevalier, following his theme of expansion and generation developed the original idea further in this upcoming presentation. Viewers be in awe of the astral projections and then find themselves noticing the intricacies of Chevalier’s displays with the light networks they are projected through— adding complexity and depth.

Chevalier has long been influenced by patterns, networks, and systems that reveal themselves through nature. This is evident through installations such as Extra-Natural and Trans-Nature. Arguably most representative of this theme could be Fractal Flowers a giant virtual garden that evolves to ad infinitum. Chevalier refers to this work as a garden which show his constant reflection and reference back to nature. This balance between nature and computer generation are what give Chevalier his distinct aspect of  surrealism. Showing us the realities and systems of nature through computer generation, Chevalier acts as a figurative translator. His works are able to serve as evidence of reality explaining these systems and fundamentally meta. Digital Supernova shows us the extents to Chevaliers interests in nature and generative worlds on a new,  astronomic level . 

Digital Supernova
August 8-18, 2019
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez, Rodez, France

Carlos W. Desrosiers:  The Experience, an immersive exhibition in Paris

Carlos W. Desrosiers:  The Experience, an immersive exhibition in Paris

Carlos W. Desrosiers:  The Experience, an immersive exhibition in Paris

“When a piece is done, it always feels like a complete song to me.
There is no more instruments, notes, or tones needed.“

 

Carlos W. Desrosiers’ upcoming exhibition from June 23 to July 31 at VOS Paris challenges the status quo of exhibiting art on limited formulated canvas. The American self-taught artist from New York presents The Experience, revealing his original 9 paintings from his “What you see” The collection splashing out from their core basis and becoming materially alive in the entire space.  

 

 

Liberated from its frame, the vitality of the painting invades the room on various supports, which results in an augmented viewing experience. Like independent phenomenons emerging from the original work of his paintings, his ‘Figures’ take up space on the windows or walls. Fragments are hanged to the ceiling, while three-dimensional sculptural unities become autonomous living organisms. The jumping off point art piece multiplies itself through an explosion into other lives in the exhibition.

Through an organic body of work of installations, photographs, signed multiples, or prints, the artist cultivates his aesthetic of vibrant colors surge. He incorporates writings and natural elements as energies that assist the work in the creative process.

The exhibition is accompanied by music as a means to awaken awareness for the vibrations of the art. The artist becomes aware of the completion of the work when it resonates wholly, as both music and art can touch a higher frequency. The colors tones he applies frenetically, like music notes dancing on the drawings, interact with what is true to the soul, and trigger all the senses.  

On the main original canvas, the thick layers of paint are the essence of his “panning technique”, a process usually associated with audio recording. Infinitely adjustable and rotative, his works exceed the fixed gaze and suggest an expansive view and endless possibilities of interpretations.

 

 

The Experience is thus incredibly immersive and takes the individual into the heart of the latter’s self universe. Moving forms devoid of a figurative depiction, his collection of paintings morphs depending on what resonates to the viewer’s subconscious. Carlos W. Desrosiers is adamant about knowing what people perceive in his abstract landscapes, unfolding what is beyond our past and life experiences. He always seeks to manifest a different reality with innovative perspectives, and to truly engage with the everyday curious onlooker, stating that his work is “a clear mirror of self for the observer.”

Carlos W. Desrosiers’ artistic expression hinges indeed upon this notion of movement and collective subconscious. His genius resides in his creative power and spiritual overview, his belief that every object of the world possesses innate wisdom. Before considering himself as an artist 6 years ago, he had an inner desire to transfer his knowledge of the mind and “the esoteric and healing power of men” into a tangible way to awaken humanity.

 

 

Very passionate about all healing techniques including Taoism, self-development, and kinesiology, he was impacted from a young age by the “healing world” as his father is a naturopathic doctor. His thirst for knowledge, the consciousness of his self-awakening paved the way for the discovery of his real duty as an artist, and each crafted piece revealed him new techniques.

When first meditating on art history, he felt an immediate connection with Jackson Pollock’s artistic splattering as an intuitively free and uncontrollable process. What Carlos W. Desrosiers calls his “subconscious reprogramming” techniques takes on form in the painting act through losing control of his hands, leaving the physical element and unlocking his hidden potential.

 

“Beautiful images emerge out of the erratic and out of the chaos”

 

 

 

With parents coming from Haiti to America, Carlos W. Desrosiers was born in New York City in 1988. While not having an economically privileged background, Desrosiers worked at a golf course for 12 years only to later be emerged into the world of Rap music as an A&R manager at the age of 17. Developing a strong rapport with artist and working on different projects and albums, Desrosiers quickly became a key component to artists and their recording process. He has been evolving in the highest spheres of the Rap/Trap music industry, being very close to top renowned artists like Rihanna, Travis Scott, and Migos.

He created in 2012 his first body of art still in progress named “What You See Collection Private Experience”  including over 20 artworks exhibited at Art Basel Miami and at The Fearless Artist Art Basel Pop Up Gallery in December 2015. His “Living abstract” body of artworks and murals were shown in Lower East Side Manhattan, New York City in February 2016.

 

The Experience by Carlos W. Desrosiers
From 23 June to 31 July 2019
VOS Paris
21 avenue Kleber 75016 Paris

Kehinde Wiley : “A history of complicated gazing“

Kehinde Wiley : “A history of complicated gazing“

Kehinde Wiley : “A history of complicated gazing“

In the continuity of the history’s invisible, repressed figures or colonial controversial episodes, Kehinde Wiley’s upcoming exhibition at Galerie Templon in Paris, from 18 May to 20 July 2019 comes from his observations and works created in Tahiti this past year.

The exhibition will be showing a series of paintings and a video installation on Tahiti’s Māhū (‘‘in the middle’ of male and female) community, who had a spiritual and high social role until they were persecuted and banned by missionaries who implemented transphobic laws. Wiley will be reflecting on both the notion of identity and gender – as it refers to the traditional Polynesian classification of people of a third gender – but also echoing France’s art and tackling renowned and hailed Paul Gauguin’s works, nonetheless tinged with sexual objectification and a particular vision of the transgender Māhū figures portraits.

Kehinde Wiley on location filming in TahitiCourtesy Templon, Paris & Brussels, © 2018 Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley had exhibited in Paris for the first time at the Petit Palais with “Lamentation”, exploring religious iconography and revisiting church stain glasses through his own idiosyncrasy, with black Americans and hip hop culture.

His world is one of the interconnections and questioning the present. He composes his aesthetic by incorporating black figures in art history masterpieces, challenging, therefore, the academic portraiture canon, and politically exploring colonialism history through his vibrant and colourful works.  

After graduating from Yale University in 2OO1, Kehinde Wiley completed a residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2002. He is mostly renowned for becoming in 2018 the first African-American artist to paint an official U.S. Presidential portrait, for the former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Portrait of Jazon Ralph, 2018 Oil on canvas182,9 x 152,4 cm / 72 x 60 in.
Photo B. Huet/ Tutti Courtesy Templon, Paris & Brussels, © 2018 Kehinde Wiley

Regarding Kehinde Wiley’s other projects, Black Rock Artists Residency is something not to miss. Launching it in Dakar, Senegal, the new multi-disciplinary artist-in-residency program comes from Wiley’s personal desire to create a workplace for West Africa and particularly Senegal where he instantly felt an intimate proximity when he first encountered Dakar in 1997. Black Rock aims to support the creation of a blend of international and multigenerational artists from hybrid fields (visual artists, writers, filmmakers etc). He intends to set a creative hotbed of talents in Africa, living immersively for a few months in the cultural richness of the city.

Image on the top:
Three Girls in a Wood, 2018, Oil on canvas, 274,3 x 366 cm / 108 x 144 in.
Courtesy Roberts Projects, © 2018 Kehinde Wiley