ArtSpace Gallery Showcases Works of Lebanese Artist Joe Kesrouani

Paintings Draw Attention to Environmental Disaster Facing Humanity

Under the patronage of HE Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Managing Director of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Dubai’s renowned art gallery, ArtSpace, is organising an exhibition of the works of Lebanese artist Joe Kesrouani from 21 January to 12 February 2009 at its gallery in DIFC.

The exhibition titled “No Illusions” showcases works that depict the insidious transformation of our landscapes and its destruction in the name of "progress" and "technological advancement". Drawing attention to the environmental disaster that this has caused, the works ask critical questions about the future of mankind.

The landscapes pictured in Kesrouani’s works present a dark vision of humanity's decline and destruction. By re-imagining technology, Joe Kesrouani transforms natural landscapes and visual planes into a futuristic composition. This facet of his work has developed in response to humankind's seeming refusal to acknowledge the permanent damage they are causing to their natural landscapes and the erosion of their sense of values.

Abdulla Bin Sougat, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Lifestyle Group said: “Joe Kesrouani’s works are a wonderful artistic statement on the environmental situation on the planet. Technically, creatively and in its innate ability to draw attention to a socially important issue through art, Kesrouani’s works are unique. As part of creating a vibrant lifestyle experience within the Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC Lifestyle Group is keen to host and support exhibitions like these that feature the works of leading international and regional artists. Suchc exhibitions will serve to engage audiences and provide a rich cultural experience within the financial district.”    

Saeed Mohamed Al Nabouda, the Chief Projects Officer of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority said: “The exhibition “No Illusions” is an example of some of the finest contemporary art in the region. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority is keen to support events like these that bring the best of regional art to Dubai. Exhibition such this contribute towards realising our mission of developing Dubai into a leading global hub for art and culture. The unique nature of Joe Kesrouani’s works will also serve to promote regional artists and raise the appreciation of contemporary art both in Dubai and in the region.”

Kesrouani’s paintings and photographs represent two levels of lived experience. The subjects of his dramatic, high-contrast black-and-white photographs loom large on his prints with visceral, extroverted expressions that take patience, intimacy and will to elicit. His paintings, on the other hand, blend abstraction and figuration to convey more introverted, complex, emotionally probing narratives. There are stories buried in the layers of paint in each of his canvases. In the construction of images, Kesrouani’s architectural training plays into both his photographs and paintings. On occasion, he brings a disc jockey’s logic into his work as well - mounting an exhibition of photographs and then, six months later, “remixing” those works in a show of paintings that draw on the original photographs for physical support and as a conceptual platform.

Though Kesrouani is quintessentially Beiruti, his work allows no easy classification in terms of Arab or Middle Eastern representation. His work actively breaks clichés, rather than reinforcing them. As such, the world created by Kesrouani’s photographs and paintings is a world entirely of his own imagination. It is a world nearly bursting at its seams with pleasure and danger alike, where everything goes and nothing is exactly as it seems. 

Kesrouani’s paintings take mundane objects, which are otherwise undervalued, and transforms them into images of beauty and possibility. In essence, it is a mirror of the way we must transform our vision of beauty, utility, imagination, and alter our past assumptions. The idea of using found objects is significant to him not only as a reference to humanity's waste and the importance of recycling, but also to stimulate the imagination and challenge perceptions.

Artspace is organising this exhibition in collaboration with the Welfare Association (www.welfare-association.org). a leading Palestinian non-governmental development organisation. Donation boxes will be placed around the gallery for visitors to contribute towards aid in Palestine. Visitors can also purchase “Gaza Cupcakes” at a special stand set up by Sugar Daddy Cupcakes. All proceeds from the sale of artworks as well as cupcakes and other donations will be given to charity for Gaza.

For further information and high res images, and to schedule interviews, please contact Sossy on the following email: [email protected], or call +9714 3230820. 

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