The artist, summarizing this latest output in a word, candidly labels them an act of ‘spontaneity.’ We see frequent scenes in this collection of figures laying, resting, reclining, sleeping, all acts which evoke within us sentiments of a reflective dream-state.
It is with great pride that Safarkhan can again bring to you the rare artistic genius of Ashraf El Zamzami for his fifth solo exhibition with Safarkhan. This truly one-of-a-kind talent has delivered another resounding collection of works in his inimitable art brut (outsider art) brand of expressionism. Zamzami’s works are imbued with a supremely cultured aesthetic quality reminiscent of the masters of the European expressionist school. This contemplative and experimental brand of expressionism is foremost the product of the deepest introspection and introversion that can only be attained in the true solace of one’s psyche. Founder Sherwet Shafei unearthed Zamzami’s raw talent and exhibited his debut as an artist more than 20 years prior. Ever since, she has been amongst his closest and most influential supporters and mentors. Zamzami was a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Minya, and studied art on scholarship in Italy, before having garnered acclaim in his native Egypt and abroad for his art’s refreshing purity and strikingly innocent yet substantive nature.
True to form, the works in this latest collection are in the vein of Zamzami’s established abstract-figurative experimentation, specifically with his interpretation of the human form, as we see these human figments of his imagination as the central protagonists to his most recent canvases. A characteristically bold, optimistic and hopeful palette does not belie the inescapably pensive nature and at times, incomprehensible distance, that his paintings evoke to the viewer. There is a lingering sense amongst these works that the artist has made a palpable retreat into the recesses of his own gifted imagination, a place of mysterious seclusion that we cannot hope to understand, but only to bask in its wondrous ponderings that come alive after he puts paint to canvas so enchantingly. The artist, summarizing this latest output in a word, candidly labels them an act of ‘spontaneity.’ We see frequent scenes in this collection of figures laying, resting, reclining, sleeping, all acts which evoke within us sentiments of a reflective dream-state, a kind of visionary experience that the other compositional elements of his canvases, which envelop these meditative figures, encourage and accentuate.
Blocks of color, primitive patterns consisting of a mixture of dots, squares, or lines, and an expertly cultured palette that suggests an adeptness at mixing and producing shades of colors that very few professional artists can attain, attribute his canvases a raw emotive power seldom seen. Amidst all of this cryptic composition, Zamzami offers us welcome glimpses of familiarity in the form of basic imagery of the most mundane objects in stark contrast to his otherworldly constructs. These images which we can grasp onto in the sea of enigma that are his canvases, are of such things as the table, kettle, shisha, pot, sink, lamp and boat, and most of all, the piano, with its alternating keys and which is evidently the most recurring motif in this entire collection. The piano’s significance lies in its representation of several eternal concepts, like duality, which its black and white keys signify, mirrored in the yin and yang symbol of the Far East. It also underscores the melodic nature of his paintings, which often appear as resplendent symphonies of color. Most of all however, it signifies the idea of states or stages, which is the very meaning of the instrument’s name. The piano, which we see in various abstract and deconstructed states across this collection, is therefore a subtle and subconscious reference that the artist is making to that of his own life; its trials and tribulations, telling the story of its procession and progression in a silent song of art.