until 15.10. | #3139ARTatBerlin | Luisa Catucci Gallery presents from 6th September 2021 in collaboration with the Galerie Bermel von Luxburg the first solo exhibition BREAKING THROUGH BERLIN of the internationally renowned Italian-Egyptian artist Omar Hassan.
Two galleries in two very different city areas – Schillerkiez Neukölln and Charlottenburg – understand the importance of synergizing to push the spinning of the recovery of the cultural and artistic scene, after such a long and challenging time. The occasion of such a powerful exhibition seemed the perfect opportunity to do so.
The show will open its doors at first at Luisa Catucci Gallery (06.09.2021), presenting for the very first time, Omar’s latest masterpiece: the Berlin City District Map, made out of 15,000 hand-painted spray-can caps, and a selection of works from each of the series of Hassan’s artistic research.
The exhibition will open at second at Bermel von Luxburg (16.09.2021), in the occasion of Berlin’s Gallery Weekend, and will present a selection of works from Hassan’s series BREAKING THROUGH and INJECTIONS.
«We start with color,» wrote Rothko once, and Omar Hassan follows him, but adding the physical action on top of the color. Through the effort of repeatedly pulling together his own body in order to control his movements to use them as a proper painting tool, Omar makes of physical action the generating source of his work, either when he punches the canvas, or even when he patiently sits and hand-paints thousands of spray caps to create his unconventional city’s maps.
In his series BREAKING THROUGH using his boxing skills to create art, Hassan surely mixes control with chance, following Pollock’s approach: control of the body movements and choice of the color palette, versus the fortuitous spread and dropping of the color while hitting the canvas. The action becomes art itself, supporting Harold Rosenberg’s opinion on Abstract Expressionism, where the Action Painters by having a dramatic, personal, and physical confrontation with the canvas, provided a compelling image of their creative process and achieved an authentic expression of individuality and humanity while being liberated from the conventional standards of beauty.
While Pollock rooted his artistic research on Native American Art, Omar Hassan roots his work on street art and street life, where speed has a crucial role, not only for the obvious legal reasons forcing street artists to be fast, but also as a reflection of the contemporary society, where everything needs to be extremely fast, and where the urban space keeps evolving running after this “speed need”. At the same time, a city is full of repetitive actions and slow-pace mechanisms, and it’s made by the most colorful variety of individuals.
Omar Hassan, urban child, didn’t forget to observe and include even these urban dynamics in his work, especially in its series CAPS, and MAPS, where spray-can’s caps are singularly painted and presented into plexiglass hive-showcase. To quote the artist self: “It started as a serial collection of caps just for my self, but after a while, I’ve understood their real purpose, and I started to paint each cap, one by one, to underline the importance of every single person, in a bigger plan that involves every human being: preserving life on this planet. That’s why I put caps in plexiglass hives I create: caps are as important to spray colors, as bees are fundamental to life”.
So while speed and unpredictability dictate the rhythm of his BREAKING THROUGH works, the series CAPS, and its evolution MAPS, have their pace set on repetition and control.
The 15,000 caps used to create a Map of Berlin’s districts, presented at Luisa Catucci Gallery, are hand-painted singularly in order to create an accurate city plan. They cannot be painted as freely as the boxing pieces, and neither as Hassan’s INJECTIONS series, where the uncontrolled drop of excessive spray paint on a single point becomes the main subject of the work.
Even if spray cans’ caps bring an immediate connection to street art, Hassan’s choice to create his city plans deliberately bi-chromatic shows his deep passion for cartography and reveals him being inspired by old maps, where the black and white color scheme, emphasizes the schematic nature of the work, as the concise culmination of the very concept of mapping.
In opposition to the polychromatic choice of Hassan’s previous series, CAPS, where the multiple color palette enhanced the beauty of diversity and individuality, the dichromatism of MAPS seems to be also an invitation to reflect on the importance to mitigate the personal differences in order to make the common good work while keeping stating society being made out of individuals.
The geometric and kinetic abstraction of colored patches used in Hassan’s SCULPTURE series, as their “childish” playful aesthetic, connects his work with another famous artist: Damien Hirst. A combination of paint-splattered classical sculptures with correspondent paint-splattered canvases is another contemporary artistic reinterpretation made by Hassan from his multicultural inheritance and urban perspective. The freedom and transgression of this series could be considered an act of Post Vandalism. While vandalism is a destructive act of aggression, Post Vandalism, on the contrary, returns objects and related situations to the cultural sphere, and following the Dadaist tradition is rich in playful irony. It is an invitation to try on changing and experiencing a different perspective, leading to inevitable philosophical and psychological reflections.
With Omar Hassan the process of making art becomes a physical, emotional and intellectual experience, not only for the artist but also for the viewers, blown away by the undeniable active power and the good vibes released by Omar’s creations.
Text: Luisa Catucci
Omar Hassan (Milan, 1987), with an Italian mother and Egyptian father, grew up in the middle of two different cultures and this gave him a deep curiosity about the new, the different, and the outside world.
He is a research artist, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera Milan in the Painting course held by Alberto Garutti, a great exponent of Italian contemporary art. The conceptual influence breathed during his studies at the Academy left an important means for the artist to express his painting and his sculpture, always with a deep thought and meaning behind each work.
Obsessed and enchanted by the pictorial gestures of synthesis of the great masters like Fontana, Pollock, and Manzoni, he as well grounds his artistic experimentation in the simple contemporary gestures able to enclose and tell an entire philosophy, an entire culture, or a new concept. It is thus that a spray spray, the first real breath of the spray can, incorporates the signifier of the entire Street Art culture, the series entitled “Injections” (the most famous works, the 256 cover of La Lettura by Corriere della Sera) is born .
These gestures were also taken by Omar in his dialogues between painting and sculpture, in the institutional exhibition at the Chiesetta della Misericordia in Venice, during the last Biennial of Art. The sculptures were camouflaged in the paintings, but also within the location, because the artist likes to work and create works ad hoc, by mixing them and by following the original essence of the space.
“Breaking Through” is another series linked to the synthesis of the gesture; the punch is charged with all the values of a discipline in one sign: “I’m not punching to destroy, I’m creating”. Boxing, the Noble Art is thus celebrated in a series of 121 large canvases (180x 200 cm) all unique pieces: 121 are the number of rounds played by the artist during his brief boxing career.
He wanted to highlight within his research, the conceptual aspect of this sport: “boxing is the metaphor of life par excellence, each of us has his crosses and must fight, if we fall to the ground we must stand up again, we have breaks, in a corner, but then we are forced to fight again, each of us is the boxer of our experience ”.
All the pictorial gestures are marked by time, a constant very dear to Omar Hassan who inserts it in all his works, especially in the last series “Time Lines”, presented at the Villa Reale in Monza, where the canvases represent the real wall of work in the artist’s studio, which for years has covered the walls with canvas, as if it were a real tapestry, marking the date when it is assembled, white and clean, and the date when it is removed, marked by the work done: “from 5/3/2016 to 5/3/2018 “work title, two years of studio work”.
The desire to trace the time to give importance to everything behind things. After exhibiting in Tokyo, London, New York, Miami, Singapore he returned to Italy to set up two major institutional exhibitions, the first confirmed in Naples in February 2020 at the Palazzo delle Arti with the curation of Maria Savarese and in Milan to be defined, because of Covid-19 emergency.
Vernissage (Luisa Catucci): Monday, 6th September 2021
Vernissage (Bermel von Luxburg): Thursday, 16th September 2021
Ausstellungsdaten: Monday, 6th September to Friday, 15th October 2021To the Gallery
Exhibition Omar Hassan – Luisa Catucci Gallery | Zeitgenössische Kunst Berlin Contemporary Art Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin