Exhibition Review

Weaving and Cracks

Review date: 01-10-2018

By Fouad Agbaria
Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah
September 15 – October 18, 2018

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Zawyeh Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Fouad Agbaria (b. 1982). His paintings of rugs are replete with architectural and ornamental elements, such as those that were laid atop the floor of his parents’ home. These works echo childhood memories and the sense of nostalgia for home. Both the rug, an implement in the Muslim religious rite that is thought to play a quintessentially spiritual role, and the arabesque metaphor, expressing the wondrous and complex structure of the world and its harmonic perfection, are used by Agbaria in his account of the inanimate place where he lives.

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The lovely colorful rug paintings tempt viewers to approach and observe the painted details. Concurrently, however, they transport viewers from one memory of time and place to another memory of a different time and place. On one rug appears a bulldozer shovel, an instrument of destruction; on another we see an airplane with a swift red flourish of the brush; and at the bottom of yet another rug a warship materializes.

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In these works, Agbaria creates a threatening inner domestic space that corresponds to Freud’s concept of desire or “a concept without a home.” In his conceptualization of desires, a paradoxical situation arises: the strange and the delusional, the dangerous and the cruel, are the opposites of the comfort and familiarity of home. In this dialectical encounter, the beautiful meets the threatening, and when the strange emerges from the domestic setting, it is frightening. The separation of subject and object is disrupted when the representation of freedom and liberation (the drawing and movement of the brush) encounters its opposite (the wall, the border), which stops its forward motion.

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The paintings can be seen during Zawyeh Gallery’s opening hours from 11:00 to 19:00 daily, except Fridays.