Terra (Un)firmaSamah Shihadi Solo 5 - 11 Oct 2020 Cromwell Place, London October 5, 2020 We are delighted to announce that Haifa-based, Palestinian hyperrealist Samah Shihadi will make her London-debut with her solo exhibition, Terra Un(firma) in line with the launch of the highly anticipated Cromwell Place exhibition concept in South Kensington, London.
Contemporary Heritage Part 2Hazem Harb 29 Jun - 1 Sep 2020 In the Paradise Lost series Gaza-born, visual artist Hazem Harb assembles fleeting glimpses into the material and natural landscape of his homeland from which he remains displaced. Through his ubiquitous process of contemporary collage, he presents a dystopic vision of paradise, evacuating images of Palestine’s architecture and agriculture from their...
Contemporary HeritageHazem Harb 29 Mar - 27 Jun 2020 Contemporary Heritage is mixed media, visual artist, Harb’s first solo at the gallery since 2015 and will bring together a fresh body of work the cuts across disciplines and continues to push the boundaries of the contemporary art framework.
This new body of work sees the artist observe the notion of heritage as unfixed and fluid. Underscoring Palestinian academic, Edward Said’s concept of Orientalism whereby through the imposition of soft powers history is reshaped for various agendas, Harb observes that while transferred from generation-to-generation, heritage also collides with colonial discourses resulting in new meanings that subsume the stories of the original owners who are often forcibly absent.
A consistent thread throughout Harb’s practice has been the preoccupation with the Palestinian people and their collective and subjective narratives which he investigates both in the literal sense - referring to archives and academic texts as the foundations of his work and in the sense of physical investigation through the deployment of his materials. The artist, in continual flow, oscillates between mediums, drawn to those which he maintains best convey the sentiments of each new concept. Harb has previously worked with film, photography, installation, collage and textile and now leans towards a fresh mode of representation that reconfigures the past.
As well as a large-scale collage triptych in Harb’s now-ubiquitous contemporary collage format Contemporary Heritage will see the artist produce new works in relief form, transposing 1920s Palestinian archival imagery into etchings that come to form compelling contemporary artefacts much like those of the forgotten societies now resigned to museums. As the debate surrounding looted antiquities looms large in the west, Harb’s reliefs, presented as the findings of archaeologists, are at once preserving history but also highlighting the ease at which certain communities, absent from the rhetoric and its presentation, become reduced to a historical exhibit in a foreign land.
Alfred Basbous: A Modern AdventureAlfred Basbous Foundation 28 Jan - 5 Mar 2020 Alfred Basbous Solo Exhibition January 23, 2020 until March 1, 2020 Tabari Artspace is delighted to announce its first show of 2020, the solo exhibit of seminal Lebanese sculptor Alfred Basbous. A visionary, Basbous played a pivotal role in the development of Modernism in the Middle East during the latter...
Between Floating WorldsKevork Mourad 5 Nov 2019 - 22 Jan 2020 Constantly striving to spark alternative conversations around the socio-political reality of the Middle East and its dias-pora, Tabari Artspace is delighted to announce its first show of the new season - Between Floating Worlds - a solo exhibit of visual artist Kevork Mourad.
Stitched StoriesNaqsh Collective 23 Apr - 1 Jul 2019 Tabari Artspace is delighted to announce ‘Stitched Stories’ a solo exhibition of works by naqsh collective that will mark the gallery’s final exhibition of the 2018-19 art season. One concern in this era of globalization is that regional design traditions and visual cultures will start to fade out, which is...
Strange FruitTagreed Darghouth 13 Mar - 23 Apr 2019 Tabari Artspace is delighted to announce Strange Fruit a solo exhibition of works by acclaimed female, Lebanese painter, Tagreed Darghouth. Concerned with the socio-political issues prevalent in her native Lebanon and beyond, Darghouth takes a research-driven approach to her works, primarily in acrylic on canvas, that tackle such topics as...
Power Does Not Defeat MemoryHazem Harb solo exhibition at Sabsay Gallery Copenhagen 31 Jan - 23 Mar 2019 Sabsay is thrilled to announce the opening of ‘Power Does Not Defeat Memory” by Palestinian artist Hazem Harb. The solo exhibition recovers else forgotten moments of Palestine’s past from oblivion, reintroducing them in collages of photographic material and architectural shapes. Assembling historical material of Palestine’s past, including photographs, negatives and...
Fabric of MemoryExhibition by Mohammed Joha curated by Hazem Harb 21 Jan - 3 Mar 2019 Tabari Artspace is delighted to announce its first exhibition of 2019, a show spotlighting the work of Mohammed Joha. Fabric of Memory, which has been curated by visual artist, also of Palestinian origin, Hazem Harb, draws together a selection of works by Mohammed Joha that spans paint, collage, and installation...
Hungry for HomeExhibition by Samah Shihadi with accompanying text by Rania Tabari Idliby 28 Nov 2018 - 8 Jan 2019 Tabari Artspace is delighted to announce a solo exhibition of new works by the Palestinian artist Samah Shihadi. Hungry for Home is a collection of 18 compelling hyperrealist pencil and charcoal drawings that use traditional Palestinian food as a platform from which to explore deep-rooted cultural codes and memories. The...
Traces: Contemporary AfricaNengi Omuku, Tyna Adebowale, Thierry Oussou and Socari Douglas Camp 8 Oct - 10 Nov 2018 Tabari Artspace is proud to announce its first exhibition of contemporary African art that spotlights the uncommon elements of today’s thriving African arts scene. In collaboration with Arthouse Foundation, a Nigerian initiative known for supporting local creative talent through international residency programs, Tabari Artspace will display the works of three...
The Everlasting Presence of an Excluded MemoryHazem Harb at Art Berlin 27 - 30 Sep 2018 Hazem Harb will present ‘The Everlasting Presence of an Excluded Memory’, a solo exhibition composed of a selection of abstract collages on canvas that lend new meaning to archival materials sourced from his native Palestine. An avid collector of memorabilia that dates back to the years before and during the...
Beyond The GridLulwah Al Homoud 30 Apr - 1 Sep 2018 Beyond The Grid is a solo exhibition composed of both new and existing abstract artworks by the London-based Saudi Arabian artist, Lulwah Al Homoud. Al Homoud's works draw influence from traditional Islamic art, synthesising its characteristic motifs with the regular rhythms of calligraphy and geometry, and ultimately deconstructing them to...
ResurrectionKhaled Zaki 19 Mar - 25 Apr 2018 Tabari Artspace presents a series of nine new sculptures by artist Khaled Zaki, a major pioneer of modernist sculpture in Egypt. His marble works explore the relationship between form and material in the context of geopolitical unrest in the Middle Eastern region and reflect Khaled’s aspirations for a brighter, more...
El BeitGroup Exhibition: Hazem Harb | Sliman Mansour | Mohammad Joha 6 Feb - 8 Mar 2018 El Beit is a collective showing of contemporary and modernist Palestinian artists exploring themes of identity through painting, photography and sculpture. Featuring the work of three artists – Hazem Harb, Mohammed Joha and Sliman Mansour – the exhibition reflects on the collective experience of lost identity and displacement in Palestine....
From Palestine with Lovenaqsh collective 23 Jan - 4 Feb 2018 Through creative traditional designs, and delicate hand finish, naqsh collective was founded in 2009 in Amman, Jordan, by two sisters that started to exhibit unique pieces of art and design. Reflecting the oriental feel and integrating the beauty of their rich culture: art, architecture, and heritage naqsh collective has been...
The Royal FlowersAdel El Siwi, Abu Dhabi Art 8 - 11 Nov 2017 Tabari Artspace Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the 2017 edition of Abu Dhabi Art, one of the leading art fairs in the Middle East. With a diverse selection of some of the region’s foremost names, the gallery's booth offers a look at a range of works by...
Figurative to AbstractionAlfred Basbous 12 Oct - 23 Nov 2017 Basbous’s works express a lifelong exploration of the human form and its abstract properties. Focused on the aesthetic principles of shape, movement, line and material, his sculptures display a deeply ingrained sincerity and a search for the essence of beauty. The works of Alfred Basbous are part of numerous public and private collections throughout the world, including the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Musée Rodin in Paris and in the public areas of Beirut and many Lebanese cities.
The Silk RoadMohamad Abla 10 Oct - 24 Nov 2017 Mohamed Abla: The Silk Road includes a selection of abstract artworks which synthesise calligraphy, collage and traditional Middle Eastern techniques which explore folktales from North Africa, the Levant, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
A common theme in Abla’s work is the exploration of new methods of mark making. For The Silk Road series, the artist employs the Turkish Ebru technique (paper marbling), which is the act of floating paper in a tray filled with water and oil paint. The paint is then carefully transferred to the surface of the paper to create colourful marble-like patterns. Abla cuts shapes from the variously dyed papers, arranging them into compositions resembling animals, heroes, princesses and other folktale figures and imagined scenes derived from the ancient Silk Road network, which was operational from around 120 BCE to 1450s CE.
The Face and BeyondAdel El Siwi 13 Mar - 2 Apr 2017 In this solo show Siwi is revisiting his signature use of the face as well as incorporating the figure as the central issue, using this composition as a field or a space that contains its own visual narrative. The viewer is invited to look into the works and see the...
Open HorizonsNassar Al Aswadi 29 Jan 2017 - 28 Feb 2018 Al Aswadi lives and works in France and this is his first exhibition in the UAE. He uses calligraphy as a way to express his feelings and thoughts without them being specifically linked to language. Arabic letters and words are not drawn in a straight line or placed horizontally, but...
VibrationsFatiha Zemmouri 26 Apr - 2 Jun 2016 April 2016 - The prestigious Dubai-based TABARI ARTSPACE Gallery will hold an exhibit for Moroccan Artist Fatiha Zemmouri titled Vibrations. Tabari Artspace is committed to the promotion of modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art and artists. Born in 1966, visual artist Fatiha Zemmouri is a graduate of the Casablanca School...
Hymns of GoldKhaled Zaki 14 Mar 2016 - 29 Apr 2018 Hymns of gold In 1258 Tatars attacked Baghdad, destroying the beauty and luster of this ancient city while 2 million Muslims lost their lives. This then extended throughout the Levant, where other cities met the same fate. The end came at the borders of Egypt where the Tatars were finally...
Saad YaganSaad Yagan 20 Jan - 1 Mar 2016 Dubai’s Renowned Tabari Artspace Gallery Proudly Presents Saad Yagan’s Solo Exhibition January 2016- TABARI ARTSPACE Dubai is pleased to announce that it will be showcasing a solo show of works by Saad Yagan on January 20, 2016. Born in Aleppo, Syria in 1950, Saad Yagan is a leading contemporary Syrian...
Listen to the BeatAdel El Siwi 9 Nov 2015 - 17 Jan 2016 Along with The Beat Where does music emerge from and what is it’s final destination? This question itself implies a sense of constant flow, a movement that abides by its own internal laws. The notes pour out like a sequence of waves relentlessly chasing each other according to an undeclared...
Hussein MadiSolo Exhibition: Hussein Madi 15 Sep - 6 Oct 2015 TABARI ARTSPACE Dubai is pleased to announce that it will be showcasing a solo show of works by prominent Lebanese artist, Hussein Madi on September 15, 2015. Born in 1938 in Chebaa, Lebanon, he lived between Rome and Beirut from 1973-1986. In 1986 he decided to stay permanently in Beirut....
Mouneer Al Shaarani CalligraphyMouneer Al Sharaani 20 Apr - 16 May 2015 Under the patronage of The Mohammad Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council of the UAE, TABARI ARTSPACE Dubai and Praesidium LLP opening of the exhibition of works by calligraphy artist Mouneer Al Shaarani.
Ahmed MaterSolo Exhibition: Ahmed Mater 15 Mar - 2 Apr 2015 The upcoming exhibition will showcase an innovative selection of works by the Saudi artist Dr. Ahmed Mater Al-Ziad Aseeri from the 15th of March till 2nd of April 2009 and is sponsored by Emirates NBD.
Ahmed Mater Al Ziad Aseeri (1979) is the son of a traditional Aseeri painter (mother) from the village of Rujal Al-Ma’a in the mountainous and green Aseer region of Southern Saudi Arabia. He was raised in its capital, Abha, where he still combines his career as an artist with that of a medical doctor at the local hospital.
Drawing on the duality of his existence as both artist and doctor, Mater's work frames humanity within a palimpsest of religious symbols and scientific references. The iconic and sometimes disturbing compositions float between the memory of a magical past and the fear of an uncertain future ... searching for the presence of faith, spirit, magic and even love in the modern world.
Compelled by a brave, conceptual imagination, Mater has developed a unique and powerful artistic voice which has brought him to the forefront of Saudi‘s emerging contemporary arts scene.
His work has been included in the British Museum’s Word into Art exhibition and collected by museums and patrons across Europe and the Middle East. His more conceptual work including the pioneering Yellow Cow and X-Ray Suicide projects have been included in the Sharjah (2007) and Ciaro (2008) biennales and he has recently co-curated the acclaimed Edge of Arabia, Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia at London’s Brunei Gallery. His work will also be featured in the Venice Biennale later this year.
Saddek WasilSolo Exhibition: Saddek Wasil 14 Jan - 28 Feb 2015 Saddek Wasil is a Saudi sculptor whose main medium is metal and discarded metallic material. His
powerful sculptures exuberate a rejection of binding stereotypes and an iron will to defeat material
subjugation for the sake of spiritual freedom. His artwork is not to be understood as a present state, as
it holds the promise of future success in overcoming chains, locks and closed boundaries.
Wasil was born in Makkah Al-Mukarrama in 1973. His mother was a seamstress and his father was a
mechanic. Thus, Saddek became accustomed to working with his hands and spent much of his youth in
his father’s garage, where he learned how to weld and work with metal, mainly iron. During his free
time, he often salvaged discarded car parts and metal scraps to create amorphous figures, distorted
bodies and human masks from his imagination:
“I’m a hoarder, I don’t like to throw anything away. I don’t like the idea of discarding things. Nowadays,
everything or everyone is dispensable. I suppose I try to show that you can find value in anything, or
As with many artists, Saddek is influenced by his surroundings and the happenings of the world around
him, with particular focus on humans and human emotions. In Makkah, Wasil is a witness to the daily
struggles of his fellow man, as well as an observer of their innermost struggles at the moment when
they are at their most vulnerable, in the house of God. His work is in no way judgemental, as he rejects
the role of the judge; it is merely a recognition of diversity in all its forms and colours. His work is about
understanding, acceptance, and tolerance and foremost, it is about the acknowledgement of seen and
Saddek is not a sculptor in any traditional sense, as he has had no formal training, does not work with
clay or with moulds, his work is not produced in a foundry and does not come in editions. He works with
his hands, and by himself. His primary material is metal, in various shapes and forms. He equates metal,
with strength, and his patience and ability to break down its intransigence and to manipulate it to his
will, is what gives him his sense of empowerment and achievement.
Wasil received his formal education in Environmental Studies and Agricultural Sciences from King
Abdulaziz University. He is a member of a number of arts societies. Namely, the Contemporary Artist’s
Home, The Association of Culture and the Arts and the Saudi Society of Fine Arts. He currently holds the position of Director of the Arts and Culture Department in Mecca.
He has exhibited extensively nationally and has participated in a number of international events and art
fairs; Edge of Arabia, Istanbul (2010); OFID, Vienna (2011), Shanghai Expo at the Duolon Museum of
Modern Art (2010); Art Dubai (2009, 2010, 2011); MENASA Art Fair, Beirut (2011); Marrakech Art Fair
(2011) and the International Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal ( 2008, 2009). In 2012, he launched is first
solo exhibition at Athr Gallery ‘And They Will Not Cease to Differ…’ and participated in ‘Made in
Makkah’, a group show of artists from Mecca at Artspace London. He has been selected for Dar Al-
Ma’mun’s 2013 residency in Morocco.
Katya TraboulsiSolo Exhibition: Katya Traboulsi 11 Dec 2014 - 30 Jan 2015 Katya Traboulsi is a Dubai based, contemporary Lebanese artist. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world. Katya’s art has found its way to several private collections in Canada, France, Switzerland, the United States, England, Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan and Lebanon. She has partnered with several organizations to raise funds and awareness for various charities and causes. Katya also regularly donates her pieces for special charitable proceedings as well. She also runs the “Katya Traboulsi Ateliers” in Dubai for emerging young and talented artists.In her work, Katya moves freely with her brush telling a new story with every stroke. She draws inspiration from the environment and the region she lives in. Katya de-dramatizes reality by using bold colors and figures between the real and the unreal.She refers to her expressionist paintings as her “mind releaser” as it serves as a sort of therapy to release the fears related to the people and circumstances of life around her.
For this exhibition, Katya Traboulsi has taken the MRI scan, x rays - and used it to re-invent the portrait. Her art is about manipulating the surface to get underneath the surface. The inside of the body is a fearful place, usually left to the medical profession. The inside is the place we don’t look. The inside of our bodies is still taboo. But it is time to reclaim the beauty and perfection of it. Prettiness is not the goal , its more about something glorious and fascinating. While our society worships looks and style, and makes its judgments accordingly, the judgment of the body is very different. The cells, systems, tissues and cavities of the body are gloriously made toward perfection. Katya Traboulsi has re-conducted us to view ourselves differently. We are more than we thought. We are movingly similar each one of us. Our separate personalities are temporarily erased, freeing us from the worry of self, into a united place that all of us share. It is this united place that art makes possible. Her work does what art is supposed to do, open the way to another world.
ConnotationZakaria Ramhani 17 Nov - 6 Dec 2014 The prestigious Dubai-based Artspace Gallery will hold an exhibit for the renowned Moroccan Artist Zakaria Ramhani, entitled Connotation.
Zakaria Ramhani was born in Tangier in 1983. The son of a painter, he discovered very early the different painting techniques in his father’s studio. Deeply influenced by the way the religious conservatives criticized his father for making figurative art, Zakaria Ramhani chose to use and transform the Islamic tradition of calligraphy, whose abstract nature allowed artists to avoid violating the prohibition against figurative representation. Zakaria Ramhani got his diploma to become a fine art teacher in Tangier in 2003, and worked as a teacher, before giving up his work to devote himself entirely to his paintings. In his own words he speaks very candidly about his work:
“I do not paint; I create faces, emotions and moods in my mother tongue. I see the painting in the history of Western art as a possibility and not finality. I see my approach as an encounter of artistic legacies from different civilizations. My work is primarily based on the use of writing, calligraphy and letters in Arabic, sometimes juxtaposed in French or English, to create figurative paintings- most of which are dedicated to portraits.
I can recall becoming fascinated and intrigued by figurative paintings and portraits at a very young age through the practice of my father who is also a painter. I quickly realized this particular practice was against aniconicism in Islam and is also found in Judaism. I remember my father praying to Allah for forgiveness when he agreed to make a portrait, which was often commissioned, before a ban imposed on himself from painting all living things in our neighborhood. Some faithful believers had an understanding of the soothsayer’s message and refused to speak to him because they thought he was committing a great sin. This guilt that I probably inherited naturally nourishes a desire to re-invent a unique way of painting in order to create a representation while not being fearful.
The title of this exhibition Connotation perfectly captures the complex relationship between images and words. The connotation is difficult to define because it is the set of elements of a sign and is not only a reduced literal meaning.
Signs or words that have the meaning "denoted" can be found in the dictionary. Some portraits of public figures or popular icons in this exhibition represent simple reproductions of images drawn from internet.
We can talk about ownership or recuperation images rather than "traditional portraits", because I do not paint from a life model- but a more picture-based one. It is the relationship between the subject and the calligraphy that gives birth to the tension, humor and cynicism. Even the appearance of the text that forms the image is unreadable. The Arabic language creates ambiguity in the image and is put into a new context and several interpretations are then made possible.
Always in search of new topics, I have come across the research of networks - the social communication "meme". I find these inspiring images as a ‘just add text’ of our choice- for the connection to emotion or the sentiment expressed by the image, presenting endless possibilities.
If we stop in front of the triptych "I'm Sorry Father", it creates a visual illusion known as ‘un trompe-oil visuel’. At first sight, it seems as though the piece is a collage, with bits and pieces stuck together. The piece is referring to an intellectual trompe-oil once the viewer sees that the three children that are the subject of this piece are personalities whose images have always been associated with terror, fear and abuse of power (Saddam, Hitler, and Bin Laden). It is these ideally combined ideas and images which create room for endless interpretation and perceptions.”
In The Wind of JanuaryKhaled Zaki 17 Mar - 27 Apr 2014 The prestigious Dubai-based Artspace Gallery, will hold an exhibit for the renowned Egyptian Artist Khaled Zaki, entitled In the Wind of January. Artspace is committed to the promotion of contemporary Middle Eastern art and artists. The gallery is a regional leader and its second location in London caters to its...
9 x 9Lulwah Al Homoud 10 Dec 2013 - 16 Jan 2014 Lulwah Al Homoud is from Riyadh, where she majored in sociology at King Saud University, and was the first Saudi to complete a MA at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in London. In 2006 she participated in a British museum managed project in which Arab artists were placed to work in schools. She spent six weeks at a school in London exploring calligraphy and Arab design. She participated in and co-curated the 2008 Edge of Arabia exhibition at the Soas Brunei Gallery. Her work was chosen by Christie's in April 2009 for their Middle East auction in Dubai.
Her exclusive exhibition which will be held at Artspace is entitled 9x9. In her own words, Lulwah described this collection of works: “As we engage in the dichotomies of existence, the rhetoric between substance, essence and fate compels us into asking what is abstract; what is solid; what is common and what is particular. This discourse moves back and forth between the humanities and the sciences, constantly shedding and reconstructing subtle layers. Arguably, what is most incongruous in this discourse is what is most convergent within it; communication. Using a pure language, this work locks together geometry, language and beauty, pushing the boundaries of what we know, how we know it and how it is perceived.” Al Homoud takes a modern approach to Arabic calligraphy which is both inspiring and creative. She breaks down traditional barriers and presents us with a new perspective. Her form and technique are unique and far from basic.
Farouk HosnyFarouk Hosny 13 Oct - 4 Dec 2013 October 2013- Tabari Artspace Dubai proudly presents an exhibition of works by Farouk Hosny on November 13, 2013 to mark its monumental 10th anniversary. Farouk Hosny is considered as one of the Middle East’s most iconic artists. Upon graduating from the Alexandria Academy of Arts in 1964, he was appointed...
Mirror GardenSamira Alikhanzadeh 10 Sep - 1 Oct 2013 TABARI ARTSPACE Dubai presents Mirror Garden, an exhibition of works by Samira Alikhanzadeh Born in Iran, 1967, Samira Alikhanzadeh studied painting as an undergraduate at Azad University and then completed her Masters in Fine Art. Her early work heavily featured windows, focusing on the effects of light movements in interior settings when filtered through glass. Not long ago, a serendipitous discovery of old family photographs led to a shift of focus and recent pieces primarily feature individuals - particularly women and children - as her main subject matter. Alikhanzadeh’s images are printed digitally on wooden boards and subsequently painted over with acrylic. A key element of the current series is the omnipresence of mirror fragments. This medium playfully invites viewers to place themselves within the work and thus encourages them to ponder their own identity, existence, mortality and gender.
Mirror Garden I place a mirror against your mirror To make eternity out of you From the book “Mirror Garden” by Ahmad Shamlou “I’m not tired of strolling in the Garden of Mirrors yet. I still crave to find an excuse to place a mirror in front of you and to invite you into the world of my works. It doesn’t matter; the excuse can be my own image or an image of a little girl with a back ground of a beautifully designed and patterned carpet; a Persian painting from centuries ago or a complete and frank abstraction of our world of today and yesterdays. In any case, I can, we can travel through the mirrors into another world and to have a different experience of the “ Time Passing“; an obsession I feel won’t be leaving me any time soon.”
A Line in the SandSaudi Group Show 18 Mar - 15 Apr 2013 March 2013- In collaboration with Athr Gallery, ARTSPACE Dubai presents A Line in the Sand; a group show of seven young and emerging Saudi artists, showing works across a spectrum of various medias, curated by Raneem Farsi and Aya Alireza. The featured artists include, Ahmed Angawi, Musaed Al-Hulis, Rashed Al-Shashai,...
Devrim Erbil19 Feb - 30 Apr 2013 Being and Becoming: The Paintings of Devrim Erbil
In Devrim Erbil’s painting, the process of artistic creation and the integrity of the artwork is first interrogated, then stabilized and finally affirmed, until the time when the work reveals itself in its fragility once more and invites reason to give it new form.
After graduating in 1959 from the painting department of the State Fine Art Academy, the precursor of Mimar Sinan University, Erbil won a number of international and national awards. He received the title of professor at the academy in 1981 and became chairman of the painting department four years later. In 1988, he was appointed chairman of the Yildiz University Fine Arts Department; in 1990, he became Deputy Dean of the Mimar Sinan University Fine Arts Faculty. In 1991, he was awarded the title of “State Artist.”
Devrim Erbil has played a crucial role in the development of modern Turkish painting. He also served in key administrative and academic positions, impacting the development of a generation of young Turkish painters. It therefore seemed appropriate to present a more in-depth article on his painting. The excerpts were chosen to indicate Erbil’s place in the tradition/modernity divide in painting and his assessment of the modern trends in Turkish painting and their prospects.
Painting and self-consciousness
“Will to diversify” is the key element of Erbil’s artistic production, a characteristic that stems from the painter’s successful “self-encounter.” The integrity that is a guarantor of an original identity stems from the spontaneity associated with the process of chain production in Erbil’s work.
On the other hand the multi-dimensional aspect in Erbil’s work can be pointed out as “The desire to question the losses incurred through our jet-style living by establishing a distance from one’s feelings has been the greatest support for Erbil, who made it his principle to view his proposed language of expression with a critical eye. For this reason, the representation of the object has always been a pretext for ‘seeing’ the painting.”
The interrogation of the medium of expression (the canvas) and the object of representation is a constant in Erbil’s work. “The precarious existence of illusion addresses our imaginative universe, as long as it reserves the right of dissociation from the object of which it is the form.”
Thus, in Erbil’s painting, the process of artistic creation and the integrity of the artwork is interrogated, stabilized and affirmed, up until the time the work reveals itself in its fragility once again and invites reason to tie it together.
Since Gilles Deleuze and postmodernism, rising skepticism about the coherence of the world and the ensuing malaise has been expressed by deforming the figure into the “figure-like,” which, “signifies the figure unable to come to terms with the authentic form.” Devrim Erbil’s figures don’t belong to the category of the “figure-like.” Instead, “Nature [for Erbil] is a cosmic power waiting to engage in dialogue with itself, domestic eternity waiting to take its place on the canvas.”
Erbil “leaves illusion at a delicate point,” and that “the purpose is never complete abstraction from the accepted sign system; painting, at least in one respect, has to be a mirror cast on the world.”
The use of lines for painting may be Devrim Erbil’s main characteristic. Erbil states the function of the line thus: “The line is actually an abstraction of the human mind. The line doesn’t exist in nature, whereas it has been an indispensable part of all that depends on abstraction. For the line is the place where forms intersect and differentiate themselves from space.” Noting that although the line had been the main part of any painting until modernity, it wasn’t used for any purpose except the delineation of the contours of an object, Erbil states that while his use of lines was influenced by its place in art history, it was more of a personal predilection, one that manifested itself in his paintings when he was 14-15 years old. He points out his agreement with Paul Klee’s statement that “our goal was to make the invisible visible,” adding he accepts Klee as an important master.
My FamilyMohamad Abla 23 Apr - 16 May 2012 ARTSPACE has the pleasure to announce a new exhibition, ‘My Family’, a Solo show of artworks by established Egyptian artist Mohammad Abla, from April 23rd, 2012. Mohammed Abla born in Belqas, Egypt in 1953. The artist first gained fame in the 1980’s for his unique style of blending European influences...
Hussein MadiHussein Madi 23 Nov - 15 Dec 2011 Artspace Gallery is pleased to be showcasing an innovative selection of works by the Lebanese artist Hussein Madi that is taking place from the 23rd of November to the 15th of December 2011.
Born in 1938 in Chebaa, Lebanon, he lived between Rome and Beirut from 1973-1986. In 1986 he decided to stay permanently in Beirut. His art has been viewed by thousands of people around the world at such venues as the British Museum, the Venice Biennale and Tokyo’s Ueno Museum.
Madi’s joyful experiments in color and form have resulted in a unique body of work that relates to modern artists like Matisse and Picasso as well as to the principles of divine harmony that inform the abstract designs of Islamic art. Madi's work focuses on both figures and more abstract decorative works. Madi is known particularly for his delightful paintings of women, which are supposed to represent the daily life of ordinary women in Lebanese culture and society. These are of women both in the home and at leisure, whether relaxing on the beach, in their home clothes, or talking with their friends. His more abstract works are an extension of this as he paints leaves and natural vegetation as symbolism of life, beauty and happiness.
Whether in two or three dimensions, Madi’s lines sing with a spontaneous freedom that belies the careful, even exacting, calculations that the artist invests in each work. The combination of meticulousness and sensuality is everywhere evident in Madi’s work, inspired by his profound belief in “God’s universal order, in which everything is different and yet composed of the same cosmic elements.”
Kamal BoullataSolo Exhibition: Kamal Boulatta 9 - 31 Dec 2009 Dubai’s Renowned Artspace Gallery Proudly Presents Palestinian artist Kamal Boullata A diverse and moving exhibition of contemporary paintings Dubai, 9th December 2009 – Artspace Gallery is pleased to be showcasing an innovative selection of works by the Palestinian Artist Kamal Boullata at an exhibition that is taking place from the...
Ayad AlKadhiSolo Exhibition: Ayad AlKadhi 5 - 31 Oct 2009 Dubai’s Renowned Artspace Gallery Proudly Presents Iraqi artist Ayad AlKadhi A diverse and moving exhibition of contemporary paintings. Dubai, October 2009 – Artspace Gallery is pleased to be showcasing an innovative selection of works by the Iraqi arist Ayad Al Kadhi at an exhibition taking place from 5to 31 October...
Looking for the Magic CenterAmin Gulgee 25 Feb - 12 Mar 2009 A diverse and moving exhibition of contemporary sculpture, innovative selection of works by the Pakistani artist Amin Gulgee titled ‘Looking for the Magic Centre’ from 25 February to 12 March, 2009. Amin Gulgee‘s works use traditional forms, drawn from Islamic art, to create thoroughly modern sculptural works in metal. Inspired...
Omar El Nagdi3 Feb 2008 - 18 Feb 2009 Omar El Nagdi presents his collection of paintings featuring expressive textures, colours and Egyptian symbolic design. His paintings display life into timeless symbolism that goes beyond mere decoration to discover a mixture of humanist and mystic sensibilities. Poetic and sensitive, his work allows him to incorporate the Pharaonic and Islamic...
CairoMohamed Abla 10 - 23 Jan 2007 Dubai, U.A.E, January 2007 – Artspace Gallery proudly presents the brilliant work of Mohamed Abla in a special exhibition from 17th of January till 13th of February 2007. The Egyptian-born artist gained fame for his unique style of blending European influences into traditional Egyptian ways of painting. At a very...
Sabhan AdamSolo Exhibition: Sabhan Adam 22 Apr - 20 May 2006 Syrian poet and painter on spotlight in Tabari Artspace Dubai, U.A.E; April 2006- Tabari Art Space Gallery presents the enigmatic paintings of Sabhan Adam in a special exhibition from 22 April to 20 May 2006. The Syrian-born artists gained fame for his surrealist artworks, which depict enigmatic and intricate images...
Hussein Madi13 Feb - 12 Mar 2006 Art Space Gallery proud to announce the longed- for exhibition of a tireless and prolific artist, Hussein Madi, who achieved a lifetime output of virtually countless works in a variety of media. The opening will be on Wednesday the 13th of February 2006 at 19:30. The exhibition will go on...
Farhad MoshiriSolo Exhibition: Farhad Moshiri 1 - 22 Nov 2004 Moshiri’s show at Artspace focuses on his well-known series of grand canvases depicting antique vases and bowls. Fragile yet monumental, the works are lovingly created – the textured layers of paint worked to create ‘authentic’ cracks of age and significance – and inscribed with flowing calligraphic declarations. But the statements are no tributes to mystical Persian poets or verses from the Quran. Instead, Moshiri turns for inspiration, as he does frequently in his work, to the alluring stuff of pop culture – in this case, Iranian love songs.