exhibition

Galerie Tanit

Zena Assi: Ode to a Minefield

Hosted by: Galerie Tanit

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What's On / Past exhibitions / Zena Assi: Ode to a Minefield

Past Exhibition Information

March 23, 2022 - March 27, 2022

Gallery 1

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Galerie Tanit

Borrowing from symbolism and surrealism, the new series of works create a direct dialogue between all the different genres in the practice of Zena Assi.

Throughout history, Gargoyles have been used for their dual functionality; in Gothic architecture, a gargoyle is designed to minimize the potential damage from water, but Gargoyles are also said to protect what they guard by turning away harmful spirits, deflecting misfortune or averting the evil eye.

Consequently, after witnessing the 2020 4th of August explosion in the city of Beirut, and the devastating aftermath on its inhabitants, I was drawn to re-appropriate the cityscape and the chaos it was witnessing. The urgent need of a guarding army emerged and called for carving a series of effigies in a more pressing, contemporary light.

‘My work is a continuous obsessive experiment to try and portray the psychology of the modern-day surroundings and especially the urban setting of the Arab world. One must involve the layers of its history and heritage, taking into consideration the complexity of its social organizations, the diversity of cultures, the multiplicity of religions. There is a factor of compressed dynamics and pauses, silences and energies, that makes the portrait of such cities seem vitally, soulfully animalistic and human at the same time. 

For me, a canvas, a paper, a screen or a ceramic piece is a thinking space. Patterns can convey or relate to a certain cultural identity, written text can send a direct message or disrupt a trail of thought, imagery mixed with contemporary visual language like emojis, graffiti, can be used as never-ending narratives, where different cultures meet and overlap.’

“In Zena Assi’s works, symbols and codes accumulate; one must look closely at the paintings to distinguish every detail of which some refer to older works. Other elements of the deĢcor are nevertheless disturbing; the recurring presence of advertising billboards and posters for consumer products, luxury items, or big companies of the Net, emphasizes that despite the situation, life goes on and trade resumes its rights...” -Thierry Savatier

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Patterns can convey or relate to a certain cultural identity, written text can send a direct message or disrupt a trail of thought, imagery mixed with contemporary visual language like emojis, graffiti, can be used as never-ending narratives, where different cultures meet and overlap.

Zena Assi
Artist


About the Hosts

Galerie Tanit

Galerie Tanit

For over forty years Galerie Tanit has played an important role in introducing American artists to German audiences and beyond. Galerie Tanit was founded by Naila Kettaneh-Kunigk and Stefan Kunigk in Munich in 1972. The program of the 1980s and early 90s focused on showing artists from the minimal, conceptual and arte povera movements such as Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Robert Mangold, Carl André, Robert Ryman. In 2007 it opened a second home in Beirut with an intention to participate in the cultural and artistic revival of Lebanon. The program of the gallery gradually shifted to a younger generation of artists and introduced international artist like Jeremy Blake and Michael Lin to local audiences.


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