Discover the upcoming solo exhibitions of both Hazem Harb and Mohammed Joha to be held at CAP, Kuwait. Opening February 18, 2020. Your invitation is attached.
“Shade is life, is a sign of movement and existence,” says Hazem Harb. Shadows of the past and the present appear in the conceptual works of Palestinian- Italian artist, Hazem Harb (b. 1980). The emotional content of his historical and sociological subject matter is revealed through meticulously constructed compositions. In his archival works, sculptural images and sculptural installations, Harb questions traumatic experiences that shape societies through war and loss.
In Beyond Memories (2012), he adapts found images, arranges them into collage, and incorporates color fields to invoke the emotional qualities of the subject matter. His TAG Series (2015) frames faces of people to metaphorically rescue them from oblivion. Harb’s works presented in the book and exhibition Common Grounds (2015), and his series Al Baseera (2012), call into question possible modes of perception of his work through multilayered and boundary-based forms.
The large-scale works of Al Baseera reference geometric forms of Islamic origin. Inspired by the Arabic word “bazaar,” which combines the dual meanings of “seeing” and “seeing through something,” Harb questions viewing and perception habits.
This brings him to combine unframed canvases with other canvases of different formats to construct three-dimensional objects. Using the architecture of his sculptural canvases, he then abstracts motifs of Islamic geometry with paint by confronting their basic forms with one another. Boundary lines, and clashing yet harmonious color fields dominate the compositions, with the color black becoming increasingly significant. The contrast between the flattening effect of the black areas and the three-dimensionality of the constructed canvases turn the painting into a “sculptural image.”
Though Harb reveals the works’ concepts directly through his titles, he believes it is the audience who complements the work in the way they perceive it. The sculptural construction, variety of color combinations, and abstraction of geometric forms force the viewer to reconsider his or her personal viewing perspective and behavior. The viewer is suspended in a contemplation of the work; a transcendental state.
Fabric of Memory
How many times are we supposed to rebuild Gaza? How often are we supposed to memorize a new geography? How many new geographies will Gaza “wear” each year?
Nobody knows the answer to these questions, and maybe it's not even necessary, as these intuitive questions will find many possible answers and raise other questions about what is happening in Gaza.
The imposed, hated “renewal” is a perpetual story with ongoing wars that affect everyone and everything alike – human beings, creatures, and things.
Every two years, Gaza is forced to take off its old robe and put on a new architectural dress; the clothes-changing and the adaptation to it are exhausting and impoverishing Gaza more every time. Instead, it is longing for
stability and continuity on the map.
Gaza has become a space that has no routine at all: when it's war, it's difficult to call it war, and living repeatedly through such radical transformation makes it almost impossible to cope, time after time, with a profoundly altered geography. The course of the streets, the shape of the houses, everything is different now. Here was a street surrounding a public park, and there was a hotel next to a tower, and an apartment building hosting a grocery store on its ground floor. Everything has changed!
A few years ago, there had also been a hospital, a government department, an institution, and a branch street open to another street... none of it is left.
- Mohammed Joha