War has now again become the focus of the media, pervading our world. But, in truth, war has never been far from us: Syria, Yemen, Sudan, all over the world chaos has continued on a daily basis for years but western eyes have often chosen to look away. Amr Fahed’s work, rooted in the turbulence of his worldview, has never ceased to scrutinize this reality. While the war in Syria may be technically over, it is ongoing; past and present inextricably linked. It is for this reason that Fahed works in what he calls the “present continuous”.
Using digital media, Fahed manages to portray the pain engraved into the collective memory, a pain as visible and as permanent as a tattoo. Although his work can be said to be comprehensive in its portrayal of the aftermath of conflict, his focus is often the children, to whom he gives a poignant ethereality, transforming them through the sprouting of wings, into angel-like beings. His concern is that this generation, one who has known nothing but war, are perhaps now broken forever; a generation whose ideas and thoughts will be forged by their experiences of a country in conflict. The eternal question of post-war societies is whether they can forget and start over, or they will be doomed to repeat the past, creating an endless cycle. We have only to look at other countries which have experienced civil war to see that the process is by no means simple nor easy. He admits that his work is painful, but it is not the pain itself that he wanted to convey, but the culpability of those who caused it. Despite the “end of war”, nothing has really changed in Syria; the same actors remain, and life is a struggle for ordinary people. After the War is, in fact, merely another act of an ongoing play of conflict and chaos, one which it seems will continue indefinitely.
Eight years ago, I began a research project about Syrian refugees in Lebanon. However, it soon became clear that the vastness of the problem was overwhelming. Syrian digital artist, Amr Fahed, has not shirked from the responsibility of this task, tackling war and the ugliness of its consequences, in a way which brings beauty to where we feel none should exist. His works transform the chaos and destruction into the ethereal and otherworldly. Children seem to grow wings and metamorphose into angels, the rubble of broken cities now vistas upon rocky landscapes. We are invited to look closely, to be drawn in by the dark allure of these images to see beyond their surface, and it is this intimacy that helps connect the viewer with the reality of war. After the War seeks to make us understand, and to realize that once the headlines cease, it does not mean that so does the misery. The brutality of civil war remains long after the guns have quieted.
We are pleased to welcome Fabio Massimo Caruso, Rabih Khalil and Stephane Vereecken, to Bloom.
Stephane Vereecken is a digital artist and photographer whose works center on the human being, and the different stories which surround our species, as well as our goals in a constantly changing world. Raw and surreal, his works explore alternative forms of existence. In his most recent series, Stepahne began to draw on his models, as well as the floors and walls of his compositions. The drawings, fragmented and incomplete, represent an ongoing process, a potential future and an unfinished story to tell, with his drawings on the bodies, walls and floor.
Fabio Massimo Caruso is an abstract painter whose practice has taken him across the globe. His frenetic lines, often monochrome, but occasionally riots of wild color, fill the canvas. Born in Orvieto (TR) Italy, he lives in Ciampino (RM) and paints in the studies of Ciampino and Velletri (RM). He started drawing and coloring as a child, painting for him constantly takes on a vital reason over the years. From the early ’80s in Rome, the artist Tito Amodei granted him a space to work inside the Giardini della Scala Santa, adjacent to his studio and the “Sala 1″ art gallery. This was the beginning of Fabio’s artistic career. He has since taken part in many solo and collective exhibitions ,and his works are present in private collections and public spaces.
Rabih Khalil is a Lebanese-Brasilian artist and art theorist. He pursued his studies at the Lebanese University (IBA II) from which he graduated in 1995 with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. He finalized his first Master’s degree in the same field in 2011 and his second in 2014 researching Art Science at the Doctorate School of Art (Lebanese University). In 2020, He crowned his studies with a PHD in Art Science at the aforementioned school. Alongside his teaching career (schools and universities), he developed a painting style that expresses simultaneously intimate emotions, sexual desires and metaphysical thoughts. His passion for literature and philosophy added an extra dimension to his pictorial experimentations and led him to create a manifesto about a form of non-existing art : the Art Sans Medium (ASM) or Art Without Medium. He has exhibited his ASM artworks in many locations along with artists like Chaouki Chamoun, Samir Khaddagj, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Mona Hatoum and others.
Karen Eva Laing: Chrysalis
Great things often come from accidents. A fashion shoot in Los Angeles which did not conform to the client’s ideas became Chrysalis, a series of photographs which reveal human fragility and vulnerability through the emotional resonance of Karen’s lens. Although perhaps better known for her thoughtful, almost painfully introspective studies of the natural world, Chrysalis shows that Karen’s observational skill penetrates far below the physical surface.
Amr Fahed: solo exhibition, After the War
Amr’s solo show, After the War will open online on kunstmatrix.com on February 26. A series of hauntingly beautiful works which reveal the horrors not only of war, but its aftermath, Amr confronts the viewer to see the reality of conflict and its long-lasting effects on the places and people it touches.
Acanthus vol 2 - Birth & Death
February’s issue of Acanthus focuses on the age-old questions of birth and dying. Art has long sought to make sense of these transitionary rites of passage, one known, one unknowable. Rabih Khalil's Ovoidales explores pregnancy and preconception. Angela Galvan's highly symbolic paintings examine the symbology of mortality. Mila Gvardiol's deeply personal paintings, Landscapes of the Soul, form a narrative of grief, as does Elizabeth Hefty-Khoury's Beginning & End. We end with Manar Ali Hassan's Ode to Beirut, and the anguish of loss on a mass scale.
We open next month with our opening show, Levant Rising. More news soon!
We are a European/Lebanese run art space in Valencia, Spain.
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