SKOTO GALLERY Presents Fathi Hassan’s Transformation
SKOTO GALLERY 529 West 20th Street, 5FL.
New York, NY 10011 212-352 8058
May 26th – July 2nd, 2011
Skoto Gallery is pleased to present Transformation, an exhibition of new works by Egyptian-born artist Fathi Hassan, who is based in Italy. This will be his first solo exhibition at the gallery. The reception will be on Thursday, May 26th, 6-8pm.
Fathi Hassan’s new works continues his exploration of representational possibilities of language inspired by texts from the Arabic calligraphy, firmly rooted in a framework of references that reflect his Nubian heritage and willingness to embrace a continuum of cultural precedents and influences. Although the texts in his work have no instantly legible meanings or available definitions, it nevertheless serves as specific link between the ambiguities that exist in the writing of images and the images of writing and aims to give voice to the lost traditions of his homeland. He explores the tension between contained energy and boundless space, though he pays tribute to oral traditions, unwritten history and identity, he still manages to avoid a mere evocation of the past or a lost homeland in his work, the visual resonance is undeniable, attesting to the resilience and undying spirit of a people.
He employs expressive gestures and deep sensitivity to texture with swift powerful movement of the brush to create work that is never merely decorative, yet embodies a philosophy of communication which obliges us to reflect anew upon what may unite or what may differentiate among the spoken word, writing and representation. In performance, installations, photography and paintings he exploits the themes of memory, history and the passage of time through the filter of personal experience in making art away from his homeland over the last three decades. Fathi Hassan possesses an inimitable ability to unite color, light and surface while pushing the bounds of his aesthetic to create works of remarkable elegance and lyrical beauty. His work evokes a poetic intimacy that allows the past to be continually revealed through the present.
Fathi Hassan was born in 1957 to a Nubian family in Cairo, where his parents relocated after being displaced by the planned flooding during the construction of the Aswan Dam. He has often reflected upon this turmoil of displacement and dislocation in his work. He studied at the School of Fine Arts, Naples, Italy in 1979-84, and has participated in several exhibitions in Africa, Europe and the USA, including Harem Aleikum, curated by Rose Issa Projects, Leighton House Museum, London, 2010; Arabicity – Such a Near East, Bluecoat Arts Center, Liverpool, England and Arabicity – Arabi, Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon; also curated by Rose Issa Projects in 2010; “Apperto 88” ,Venice Biennial in 1988; 9th Cairo International Biennial, 2003; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC in 2005, Dak’art – Dakar Biennial, Dakar, Senegal, 2008; and Villa Pisani, Str, Venice, Italy in 2008. He is in numerous collections including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.