Annie Kurkdjian: Flight and Enclosure
Albareh Art Gallery
3-30 December 2013
Following from her debut with Albareh at Art Dubai 2013, the Lebanese artist returns with her signature paintings, investigating transgressions effected on the human body as a consequence of violence and anxiety. A vision drawn out of what she calls the “orgy of Beirut”, inspired by a number of readings in film, philosophy and literature, her work does not spare us the unmediated sight of horror. Yet the vision is fragmentary; absent elements complete the vision and compete with the imagination in encoded signals
Initially informed by the Lebanese Civil War, the work of remembrance and the labor of missing are here transformed within the frame, into a search for an object and a subject located as forever absent. The canvas is in this exhibition not a mere format but a marker of visual impossibilities. Kurkdjian has adopted the most external point of view: What does it mean to be seen? Her investigation has shifted from pure experience and story-telling towards reception and perception. Once the subjects have been exposed and their interior revealed, how do these personae perceive themselves?
Rather than merely informing us about the process of bodily reconfiguration, Kurkdjian’s characters withdraw their gaze from us. The uncanny characters are everything but absent, imprisoned behind and within a frame, being constantly observed and yet always on flight, aware of their omnipresence and demanding to be ransomed. The animated creatures are aware of their precarious position and accordingly, turn their gaze in reverse, reaching out for the unknown, suspended in the boundlessness of a place we cannot reach, being prey of an ambiguity, sometimes lustful, sometimes repulsive.
If flight from the public crime of being seen is not possible, then a full closure ensues and the visual field disappears, leaving us with an incomplete syntax of the artist’s intentions. Speaking of flight and enclosure, the paintings examine the limits of the canvas as a site of personal expression and open up warm spaces for intimacy and exposure. Annie Kurkdjian retains her singular combination of humor and moral seriousness, and her acute preoccupation with the traces of history left on the body. “Flight and Enclosure” is a temporary window that can disappear at any time, leaving us far behind in the dark.
About Annie Kurkdjian
Annie Kurkdjian (born in Beirut, Lebanon, 1972, lives and works in Beirut; recipient of the “Johayna Baddoura Prize” 2012) ,living through the turbulent years of the Lebanese Civil War, studied fine arts and psychology at the Lebanese University, and theology at St. Joseph’s University. Kurkdjian has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Gallery Sader, UNESCO, Salon Sursock, Royal School of Arts London, Biennale Arts Hors Normes in Lyon, amongst others. Since 2005, she has held solo exhibitions at the Goethe Institut 2005, Centre Culturel Français 2006, Surface Libre 2007, Zico House 2008, Atelier 109 2010, and Espace Bertin Poirée 2012. Annie Kurkdjian’s work has been showcased in Art Dubai and Menasa Art Fair (Beirut) in 2013
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