post-title Tammam Azzam + Jonas Englert | Fragments | Galerie Kornfeld | 10.09.-29.10.2022

Tammam Azzam + Jonas Englert | Fragments | Galerie Kornfeld | 10.09.-29.10.2022

Tammam Azzam + Jonas Englert | Fragments | Galerie Kornfeld | 10.09.-29.10.2022

Tammam Azzam + Jonas Englert | Fragments | Galerie Kornfeld | 10.09.-29.10.2022

until 29.10. | #3555ARTatBerlin | Galerie Kornfeld shows from 10. September 2022 the exhibition Fragments by the artists Tammam Azzam and Jonas Englert.

For the first time, the exhibition Fragments jointly presents works by Tammam Azzam and Jonas Englert that deal with the reconstruction and recontextualisation of politically significant moments in history.

In doing so, the works question not only how political decisions are made, but also what consequences these actions have. How regulations and agreements are made, which threats lead to which arrangements, treaties and agreements and how these are decisive for the change of history, not only for the present population but also for future generations. The authenticity of diplomatic gestures is also questioned.

The works of both artists make us feel how society deals with political agreements, disagreements and decisions made. Jonas Englert’s works show this through video compositions and tableaux that use a variety of fragmentary images to show the diplomacy of political gestures, while Tammam Azzam’s large-scale paper collages seem to be composed of the debris of a conflict or dispute.

Tammam Azzam‘s works convey an awareness of the importance of issues such as migration, war and violence. Destruction and reconstruction become vivid in images that directly target our emotions and resonate for a long time. Bordering on abstraction, his works are less sober description than emotional representation. At the centre of his compositions is reconstruction after destruction, a metaphor for the Syrian artist who left his homeland in 2011. Regardless of his personal history and experiences, however, Tammam Azzam’s works go beyond the subjective perspective. His depictions evoke war and destruction, but the war in Syria is always also a supra-individual symbol of the ongoing political conflicts worldwide, leaving viewers to wonder whether Tammam Azzam’s paintings are abstractions of his own past, whether they are figurative, and if so, what they might be showing.

On closer inspection, the many small pieces of paper seem to tell their own story, jumping from one piece of paper to the next. We notice the cracks and gaps between them and see that they are separated and broken or tattered. But if we take a step back, they join together to form fascinating painterly compositions of small and tiny paper scraps, which the artist has previously painted with acrylic. Tammam Azzam developed this unique technique in 2016, immediately after his arrival in Germany.

His compositions ask questions, but they do not provide answers. They encourage us to think for ourselves and at the same time refer to the political situation of our world and the multitude of current wars and warlike conflicts. Above all, however, they ask about the “Conditio Humana”, the general human condition, whose destructive and disruptive forces bring suffering and despair into the world, but which, with its wonderful creations, also always gives rise to hope. This tragedy, but also this hope-giving power are at the centre of Tammam Azzam’s works, which create a new whole from fragments.

ART at Berlin - courtesy of Galerie Kornfeld - Tammy Azzam - Untitled
Tammy Azzam, Untitled, 2019

Tammam Azzam received his artistic training at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University. In addition to painting, he creates paper collages and digital works that deal with the conflict in his home country. After the beginning of the Syrian civil war, he moved to Dubai, and in 2016 he came to Delmenhorst as a fellow of the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg, Institute for Advanced Study. He has been living in Berlin since 2018.

Tammam Azzam‘s works can be found in collections in Europe, the Middle East and the USA and have been exhibited around the world, including at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.. (2021), at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and the Rudolf Stolz Museum in Sexten in South Tyrol, Italy (both 2020), at Kunstverein Iserlohn “Villa Wessel” (2019), at Ayyam Gallery, Dubai (2019 and 2016), at the For-Site Foundation, San Francisco, (2017, 2016) and at Stadtmuseum Oldenburg (2017). A selection of his works is part of the touring exhibition “Kunst trotz(t) Ausgrenzung” (Art in spite of exclusion), which has been touring through various museums and institutions in Germany since 2018 and can currently be seen in Rüsselsheim. Tammam Azzam has received numerous awards and prizes, including the Creative Activism Award of the Cultures of Resistance Network, and since 2021 has been represented alongside artists such as Monica Bonvicini, Rebecca Horn and Lawrence Weiner with a column in Stoa 169, the “Artists’ Column Hall” initiated by Bernd Zimmer in Polling.

Jonas Englert‘s works reflect socio-philosophical phenomena as well as political and historical narratives and materials, combining video images, diagrams, texts and audio material into complex compositions. “Found footage”, found film material, is combined with their own recordings. The result is an in-between world, neither fiction nor pure documentation, which shows people both as individuals and as social beings.

In doing so, he draws attention to certain gestures in historically, culturally or politically significant moments and exposes their apparent authenticity as well as the carefully selected, clinical and artificial nature of these actions. The images refer to biblical, historical or artistic moments and combine into harmonious compositions that question the meaning of diplomacy. Were the political gestures that became historical moments in the last century necessary or just part of a political staging for the media and thus no more than a theatrical expression without real value?

“Declaration of Principles” works exclusively with found footage. The video in the centre of the polyptych with a total of 31 image fields shows the moment when Yitzchak Rabin, then Prime Minister of Israel, and Yassir Arafat, then President of the Palestinian Authority and Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), shook hands in the garden of the White House in Washington in September 1993 under the eyes of the President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton. The goal: mutual recognition and an end to the violence of the two hostile parties. Jonas Englert links this historical moment with works of art, images of political events and biblical references, thus questioning their “authenticity” and the extent to which they are symbolically exaggerated, strategically staged and, above all, medialised.

“Circles I” deals with the theme of “touch” and how it is used in greetings, settling conflicts or affirming agreements and statements. On seven monitors we see a chain of videos in which various political figures shake hands at historically significant moments over several decades, forming a chain from one person to the next, until the chain finally closes into a circle and ends with one of the people already seen in the first video. Each of the seven circles ends where it began and at the same time also intertwines with its neighbouring circles.

ART at Berlin - courtesy of Galerie Kornfeld - Jonas Englert - Declaration of Principles
Jonas Englert, Declaration of Principles, 2022

Jonas Englert studied visual arts with Heiner Blum, Rotraut Pape and Alexander Oppermann, philosophy with Juliane Rebentisch at the HfG Offenbach and applied theatre studies with Heiner Goebbels at the Justus Liebig University Giessen in the winter semester 2012/2013. In 2012 he was awarded the Dr. Marschner Prize, in 2013 the Johannes Mosbach Scholarship and in 2017 an honourable mention in the B3-BEN Awards in the category “Time based and immersive arts”. In 2018, Jonas Englert was a laureate of the Frankfurter Künstlerhilfe, and in 2019 he received the Theory Award of the Marielies Schleicher Foundation.

Works by Jonas Englert can be found in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as well as in the Ivo Wessel Collection and other private collections. He has also created several works for the theatre, including at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, the Staatsschauspiel Dresden, the Staatstheater Hannover, the Theater Bonn and the Berliner Ensemble.

Opening: Saturday, 10. September 2022, 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Exhibition dates: Saturday, 10. September – Saturday, 29. October 2022

To the Gallery



Exhibition Tammam Azzam + Jonas Englert – Galerie Kornfeld | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin

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