The Empty Quarter Gallery is proud to present the first solo exhibition in Dubai of the internationally acclaimed Palestinian artist
Euphoria & Beyond
Opening May 2nd, between 7-10 pm
Euphoria, 2010 © Steve Sabella
Steve Sabella, born in Jerusalem in 1975, is a London / Berlin based artist. He is the holder of the Ellen Auerbach Award (2008) granted by the Akademie der Künste (Academy of the Arts) in Berlin, where he is working now to publish his first art book with them. Sabella is also one of the commissioned artists for the inauguration of MATHAF Arab Museum of Modern Art. Steve Sabella's artworks have been collected by the British Museum in London, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and leading collectors in the Middle East, including Cuadro Fine Art in Dubai and Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah.
In Transition, three triptychs, 2010 © Steve Sabella
"Steve Sabella's oeuvre unfolds like a book. Its chapters chronicle the artist's journey towards visual and intellectual maturation and bravely investigate his shifting psychological states, narrating a deeply personal individuation process. Thus, in order to fully appreciate the triumph of Sabella's recent work, it is vital to take into account the evolution of his practice, from his first photographic series Search (1997) and Identity (2002) to the work presented in this current solo exhibition Euphoria & Beyond at the Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai.
The Euphoria triptych is a joyous retinal explosion. Cut and assembled from hundreds of fragments of trees, like those shown In Transition, the resulting photomontages of organic fluidity emanate cathartic relief and a transcendence of the state of 'mental exile.' Long years of self-interrogation have given way to a more stable personality, one open to expansion and to the appreciation of beauty and the sublime.
Beyond Euphoria, 2011 © Steve Sabella
It is also relevant that the production period of Sabella's first post-Euphoria works coincided with the demonstration in Tunisia and Egypt. Beyond Euphoria relishes in a freedom never seen before in Sabella's oeuvre, a freedom where possibilities are limitless and new fictional spaces beckon to be explored."
Essay by Christa Paula, click to download the full text.
Dr. Christa Paula is a London-based art historian and author, who has written numerous articles on modern and contemporary art from the Islamic world.
|Sabella signing his work at the lab in Italy
|| In Transition in production at the lab in Italy, 2011
Sabella comments on the live wire running between his latest work and the Arab Revolution:
"There are two voices that have penetrated and shook me during the creation of Beyond Euphoria. Both are Tunisian and have become iconic. The first one is the voice of the man who went in a dramatic scene shouting in the street the moment he heard that Ben Ali ran away. The other is the voice of an older man with white hair, who was speaking with a voice that, like the first voice, condensed one hundred years of Arab history. Both of their voices recapitulated the agony, the pain, the anticipation, the frustration, the joy, the sadness, the revelation and the euphoria of how every Arab felt. In Paris, I had the utmost honor of having dinner in the most astonishing and unforeseen manner with the first voice.
However, my state of transition and Euphoria preceded the Arab revolts. My journey of interrogation and introspection has been leading me to liberation. To achieve it, I had to confront myself, journey to my core and question my 'beliefs' and everything in my 'reality'. The journey starts from within and once it starts, change is inevitable. It is possible, that this is what people in many different countries realized. Beyond Euphoria was created at a time when I was absorbing the dramatic changes in the Arab World. The unfolding events influenced this artwork and shifted it from its original conception."
Cécile Elise Sabella, 2008 © Steve Sabella
"More recently Sabella has explored the concept of 'exile' from a different perspective: his daughter. As he touchingly explains: "When Cécile was born...it was only a question of time until we had difficulties communicating. She speaks Swiss German [the language of Sabella's wife], I speak Arabic, and neither of us understands what the other is talking about. She is simply foreign to me." Sabella's response was a series of photographs of the material of his daughter's clothes, from outside and inside. "This work attempts to establish a relationship between us by photographing her clothes from both sides – inside and outside. A cloth, no matter what, will always have its other side. This mirrors the basic fact that in essence, Cécile and I will always have a connection."
Cécile Elise Sabella was reviewed in New Vision - Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century (2009, Thames & Hudson & TransGlobe Publishing).
Top: Cécile Elise Sabella - artist book
Right: Cécile Elise Sabella - Installation
Of Blind Men & Elephants
June 14 - July 31
young & contemporary Indian photography
Waking from Dreams of India, 2008 © Neil Chowdhury
Anyone attempting to offer a comprehensive survey of contemporary Indian photography will soon resemble the mythical blind men who were unable to comprehend the entire form of the elephant. The continent itself defies an all-embracing view, and can only be celebrated in its dazzling, caleidoscopic plurality of visions.
Like the blind men, who ultimately rely on communicating to one another their tales of the same beast if they want to arrive at any kind of insight, so do we rely on the many tales of India told by the photographers in this group show, each giving a sample of this monumental living entity.
The Empty Quarter is devoted to fine art photography, with an emphasis on works exploring
the photographic dimensions of the Arab world. Within this framework,
the gallery salutes the achievements of the world’s finest
photographers, and aims to highlight the talent of photographers from
the Middle East.
||10.00 - 22.00
||16.00 - 22.00
tel: +971 4 323 1210
fax: +971 4 323 1524
mobile : +971 50 55 33 879
Euphoria & Beyond
May 2 - June 11
Opening: May 2, 7 – 10 p.m.
Request Press Kit Steve Sabella.
Of Blind men and Elephants
Contemporary Indian photography
June 14 - July 31
Opening: May 14, 7 - 10 p.m.
Join us on May 2nd for an Evening of Culture and Conversation, organized by Mamashisha during Arts Night @ Gate Village.
OFFSHORE: NEWS & EVENTS
Steve Sabella's exhibition at MATHAF continues till May 28, 2011.
The exhibition is part of the curatorial exhibition Told, Untold, Retold, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath.
At the last Bonhams International Photographs auction in April, Euphoria, which was consigned by the gallery, sold to a regional collector.
We are pleased to announce that award-winning artist, designer and photographer Katrin Greiling is now represented by the gallery with her photographic works.
© Katrin Greiling
Richard Mosse, who contributed to our much lauded exhibition The Spectacle of War, has recently been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship 2011. This will allow him to continue his research into the visual representations of catastrophe in the 21st century. Congratulations!
The book Oman 1971, Bruno Barbey, selected as one of the Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2010, is now available through the gallery.
Happy, the latest edition of Foam Magazine, is available from the gallery book section. FOAM magazine is arguably THE best magazine on contemporary photography published worldwide.