November 6 – December 1, 2018
Curated by Myriam Jakiche
Contemporary Art Platform (CAP) is pleased to announce the opening of Untitled, a new exhibition by Fadi Yazigi marking a decade of emotional and physical change.
A new exhibition in Kuwait of works by Fadi Yazigi tracks the renowned Syrian artist’s creative journey over the last decade and the impact that the intervening years have had on his art.
The Untitled show features an array of exhibits, ranging from both large and medium-sized sculptures in bronze and reliefs on clay to Yazigi’s signature figurative paintings on various surfaces, including bread, rice paper and canvas.
Audiences will be immediately drawn to the artist’s subjects, which are typically given an underdeveloped human form, and telling facial expressions that relay a roller coaster of emotions, including hope, love, anger, happiness and despair, inspired by Yazigi’s fascination with the highs and lows of everyday life experiences.
In some of his works, the actions and expressions of his subjects are open to interpretation; for example, are his protagonists in one sculpture jumping, falling or being pushed from a precipice and are they running to a better opportunity or away from danger?
Yazigi’s work undoubtedly reflects the changes he has lived through and witnessed in his homeland over the decade, from the varying levels of light emerging from the shadows and retreating again to set the mood of a piece, to the depth of feeling etched across the faces of his protagonists.
In one large bronze sculpture of a wall made up of figures giving each other physical support, for example, the intermittent spaces provide light, air, and opportunities for both survival and escape.
Viewers will also see the artist contemplating the passage of time we all move through in our journey through life and the dreams we harbour along the way, in a separate, large-scale installation that combines paintings on bread with reliefs on clay.
“Bread is the life that we live as we try to make our dreams – both big and small – a reality, while each piece of clay steals a few moments of that time and encapsulates it in a square frame made of wood, so they becomes witness to the process,” he explains.
There are subtle, but tangible shifts evident in Yazigi’s most recent pieces; the facial expressions of his characters are more contemplative than previously, while the sculptures are closer to human form in dimension, or “less squeezed” as the artist puts it. In another move, his paintings have more vibrance and colour, lending them a more upbeat feel.
Giving his own interpretation, Yazigi says, “It feels as if one is stuck, suspended between two hills, pausing for breath and waiting. There is some hope, but there is also confusion, uncertainty and a lack of clarity.”
The ambiguity and fragility of the situation is evident; a dog positioned next to an angel in one sculpture could be protecting its companion, but also has a menacing look about it, while the figure reclining in another piece adopts a relaxed pose, but is forced to face his past.
“In many ways, there is little to say, because everything has come to a standstill,” Yazigi admits. “The main topic for me, if one exists at all, is this hiatus between the past, the current and the future. Right now, a question mark hangs over everything, even down to a possible title for this show.”
(Syria, b. 1966)
One of the Arab world’s most fascinating contemporary artists, Fadi Yazigi first began drawing as a child and has never looked back.
Born in Syria, Yazigi studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University, gaining a bachelor’s degree in fine arts specialising in sculpture in 1988. He still lives in Damascus today with his family and works full time at his studio in the old city.
Producing a range of works from painting to sculpture to reliefs that all mirror each other in terms of subject matter and, for the most part, focus on everyday life in his country. Yazigi regularly casts his sculptures in bronze, and they often depict people as underdeveloped creatures or as half-human beasts. As a figurative painter, Yazigi’s work revolves around people and human emotions with a nostalgic sensibility towards the individuals that he encounters.
A strong facet of his work is experimenting with new materials and techniques, allowing him to continuously increase the range of his oeuvre.
Yazigi’s art is housed in numerous public collections including The British Museum (London), The Delfina Foundation (London), A.M. Qattan Foundation (London), Atassi Foundation (Dubai), Kaleemat Foundation (Istanbul), CAP (Kuwait) and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (UAE), as well as private collections throughout the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the USA.
In 2007, Yazigi was the Delfina Foundation artist-in-residence, Middle East representative (London); his lecture at The National Gallery, Poussin’s Sacraments – Rites of Passage and Continuing Creativity, was delivered in the same year.
Solo exhibitions include; Deborah Colton Gallery (Houston, 2017), Dar Al Funoon Gallery (Kuwait 2017), Art Paris Art Fair (Paris 2016), Yallay Art Gallery (Hong Kong 2015), The City Hall (Thessaloniki, Greece 2015), Galerie Tanit (Beirut 2015), The Mosaic Rooms (London 2011), Ayyam Gallery (Damascus 2009) and Al Bareh Art Gallery (Bahrain 2006). Collective exhibitions include ‘Un oeil ouvert sur le monde arabe’, Arab World Institute (Paris 2018), ‘Living Histories’, The British Museum (London 2017), ‘Syria: Into the Light’, Atassi Foundation (Dubai 2017), ‘L’Art en Marche’, Galeries de Verre (Bordeaux 2015), Institut des Cultures d’Islam (Paris 2014), Meem Gallery (Dubai 2013), ‘Syrian Art’, BIEL Center (Beirut 2013), Athr Gallery (Jeddah 2013) and Europe Art Expo (Geneva 2006). He has also participated in a number of international events and art fairs including; Art Paris, Abu-Dhabi Art, Art Dubai, Art Palm Beach, Beirut Art Fair and Sharjah Biennale.