Mustafa Sabbagh: Mostra fotografica

Titolo: Memorie liquid: liquid memories
Luogo: Ferrara- Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Museum Giovanni Boldini
Data inizio: 20/05/2012
Data fine: 30/09/2012

Liquid Memories is a photography exhibition by Mustafa Sabbagh, taking place at the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Museum Giovanni Boldini in Ferrara, Italy from the 20th of May to 30th of September 2012.

Mustafa SabbaghMustafa SabbaghLocated along the halls, Sabbagh’s images relate not only to already existing works of the Museum but also to the environment, the atmosphere full of memory. It reflects the signs of time present and past as well as our imprinted history.

Spaces arise from reflection on the two installations. The first, a large photograph depicting a corner of the full-length portrait by Boldini, printed on glass and then broken, symbolizing the necessary break in relation to traditionally established aesthetic canons, linked to concepts of beauty and the ideal crushing of the image that becomes a metaphor of enchantment which must be sought even in imperfection. The second setup consists of two large prints of backlit windows that replace one of the rooms, showing clearly the views. In it, one investigates the relationship between internal-external dimension through the projection of these fictional work of art.

Mustafa SabbaghMustafa SabbaghThe photographs depict models hidden behind fetish masks – made by Simone Valsecchi, Ronconi and Greenaway costume – and comprise of disparate objects, such as forks, wigs, blinkers, hard hats, veils, stuffed birds. Single or paired subjects in diptychs of dark beauty through to evocative nocturnal landscapes present without apology. Underlying these images and behind their rarefied charms are the echoes of archetypal memories of coercion and torture. Technically brilliant, Sabbagh captures his subjects at depths of dark gray and cobalt, frontally or in profile, reminiscent of a renaissance painting. The look, through life, is denied behind the fiction of disguise, a symbol of deception, simulation, and yet at the same time an element of revelation of oneself and one’s instincts. The occasion of unveiling, the mask is so impenetrable a screen behind which the individual is free and express themselves.

Mustafa SabbaghMustafa SabbaghThe objects that accompany the masks are not decorative and never reveal which attributes complement the sense of the image as presented for judgment. However, they acquire a strong significance of symbols and characters that become transmuted into a modern vanitas portrait of Flemish taste, a reflection on the inexorable passage of time that evaporates like cigarette smoke. Time flows, slips away, to which the beauty inherent in the condition of youth seems to disregard it, seems to mock, provoke, exorcise. Matrons and knights of the XXI Century, dandy in elegant leather jackets; Venus sick, forced into rigid corsets and girdles uncomfortable, all remain frozen at the very instant of their ephemeral appearance, becoming images that lead us to ponder that perhaps, behind the apparent comeliness of perfection, there always lurks the frailty of flesh.

Mustafa SabbaghMustafa SabbaghIn these images, whose icy appearance is enhanced by the extreme precision and realism of the photographic medium, Sabbagh offers his vision of modern portraiture. The Italian-Jordanian Sabbagh steps from the world of fashion photography, the experience of which builds to go further and investigate what lies behind the mannered image, behind apparent perfection. Irreverent and ironic, his effigies desecrate a concept of sensuality and sexuality which may seem more and more brazen and violent but therein are offered to the gaze of the observer. It is in this aspect of desecration that patterns of Sabbagh begin a dialogue with the portraits of Boldini, leaving slowly to reveal underlying similarities with the work of the painter of more than a century ago in Paris. Often depicting extreme elegance, sometimes pushing the limits of the paroxysm; from princesses through to the origins of haute couture, an era both complex and controversial; the fin de siècle, daring to impose a real fashion model.

Mustafa SabbaghMustafa SabbaghA close relative of that other almost fictional (to our minds) era, this present time is the time of the image, the time of appearance. The portrait, painted or photographic has become a witness. By its very nature, the portrait may be celebrating but is also mercilessly critical and analytical. The creative act that arises from the interaction between the personality of the artist together with the portrait leaves a very particular product. It is Sabbagh’s eye that observes and chooses how to portray and yet at the same time, genius-like he also delivers the fruit of the desire of the model, and that twist of artistic expression hands to posterity, the traces of our existence.

Info sulla mostra @

Museum Giovanni Boldini: Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art

Phone: +39 0532 244949


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