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Sabrina Amrani is pleased to announce Chant Avedissian's first restrospective exhibition in Spain, opening tomorrow at Casa Árabe.
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The exhibition Chant Avedissian. A Levantine heading East is the first retrospective show in Spain of this fundamental artist of the contemporary art scene in the Middle East. Chant Avedissian was born in Cairo in 1951. Of Armenian origin, he grew up in Egypt in the second half of the 20th century and was significantly marked by the social, political and cultural era of President Nasser. This dual identity, together with his studies in Paris and Montreal, consitutes the fundamental elements that influenced the artist and awakened his interest in peoples’ identities, their traditions and cultures. On his return to Cairo at the early nineties after his education in the West, Avedissian worked with the architect Hassan Fathy (Egypt, 1900-1989) during a decade that would be decisive in his life and his artistic production, and during which he shared with the famous author of Architecture for the Poor the same deep fascination for ‘simple’ materials and crafts, elements that would from then on characterise his work. Soaked in this amalgam of influences, Avedissian began creating multi-faceted work that was local yet global, simple yet complex. His work combines decorative and architectural elements with a rich variety of icons and figures from Ancient Egypt, as well as from many other civilisations and cultures that have existed along the Silk Route. From the mid-70s, Avedissian has been constructing a visual archive that reinterprets patterns and images from art and artisanal work made over 3,500 years ago, from the Levant eastward. The process of decomposition of the image and its subsequent reconstruction, the reuse of what is existent that Chant applies in his works in wood, textile or gouache on corrugated cardboard, constitute a formal and conceptual metaphor for the construction and mutation of civilizations along of the centuries, giving rise to a paradoxical work in which Avedissian speaks to us at the same time of what distinguishes us and of what resembles us. His work is based on and drinks from the work of thousands of people from different places over millennia, which the artist discovered during his many travels, and which always brought him back to the same elemental forms, colors and designs. The work of Chant Avedissian synthesizes the colors and geometric patterns that are repeated along the Route of the Silk. This collection and selection of images and symbols by the artist has formed an iconographic archive of the East that feeds his visual discourse on the permeability of cultures. The artist, almost without being conscious, has built a sort of specific propaganda for the “Great East”, a term that could have been coined by the own Avedissian. The exhibition Chant Avedissian. A levantine heading East proposes a journey through his artistic practice as an invitation to an inevitable re-reading of the history of an undefined and porous geographical area that extends from the Maghreb to the plateaus of western China. Chant Avedissian. A Levantine heading East is a proposition of Sabrina Amrani for Casa Árabe. OPENING
18th October 2017, 8.00 p.m.
Runs through 25 February 2018 CONFERENCE
"Chant Avedissian: Restituting identity" Nigel Ryan in conversation with Sabrina Amrani
Wednesday 18th October, 7 p.m. Casa Árabe Auditorium
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