This is where I collect and share my inspirations, working processes, ideas, reflections, interests, encounters…
17 June 2022
Is watching a film or a tv series a shared or personal experience?
This was one of the many points we addresses yesterday in our Salon, an open conversation between Josie McCoy, myself and the wonderful public that brought so much warmth and interest with them. We have worked with Josie for months along parallel paths on this project in preparation for our show, yet it was surprising how many more insights we could get of each other’s work during yesterday’s talk.
Despite the diversity in the approach to our art practise in general, and to the subject matter particular to this show, our motivation, that may have also seemed quite different at a first glance, through the debate presented itself as almost two faces of the same coin. What we seek in treating with oil paint the moving image, is capturing that fleeting moment of identification with a character, with an emotion or a shared history; the ‘vision’ — whether as of a personage or a scene — that we keep on carrying on in our minds once it has run past our eyes.
THE MAKING OF PALINOPSIA
14 June 2022
A LIFE STILL IN PROGRESS
06 May 2022
It portraits French actor Jacques Perrin, who just died on 22 April 2022. Next to Marcello Mastroianni, he was one of the two tormented brothers in Valerio Zurlini’s “Cronaca Familiare” (Family Diary), based on a the autobiographical novel by Vasco Pratolini.The film won the Golden Lion at 1962 Venice Film Festival, ex aequo with Andrei Tarkowsky’s “Ivan’s Childhood”, another of my absolute favourite films.
FROM TABULA IMPRESSA TO LIFE STILLS
19 April 2022
Flight Above the Village, from the series Apocriphisms, Tabula Impressa project, 2013 and LS#17-RWF-1974 – This is my husband, my husband!, 2014–18
In June, as part of Russafart 2022, I will show some paintings alongside Josie McCoy in the beautiful space of The RW Project in Valencia. One year after my Tabula Impressa exhibition there, I am presenting a completely new body of work, Life Stills.
In preparation for the show, I have been reflecting on the common ground that has been feeding my various projects during the years.
I am realising that Tabula Impressa and Life Stills, two projects so different in their conception, realisation and final output, share a very same concern: how do we respond to life events and how do we relate in our individuality to the other, whether from another time, place or culture; how a single human being inhabits mankind and our everyday existence places itself into history.
In Tabula Impressa, the various series of works can be defined as ‘abstract’ in terms of style, despite being based on ‘real’ marks with significance. The approach of Tabula Impressa is intuitive and primal, relying on glyphs deprived of their meanings to construct inner landscapes and codes of interpretation of our emotional reality.
In Life Stills, the works are small, intimate and ‘realistic’ oil paint transpositions of chosen moments from films that are particularly meaningful to me. The power of the cinematic image lays, behind its fiction, in the capacity of stirring the depth of our emotions. By creating an empathy with the character as if it was a real person, it sheds a light on the human condition within history, in a sort of mysterious way, where the acquired knowledge of events is secondary to the intuition of the existence of patterns that trigger human emotions and, therefore, events.
THE FLAME OF INSPIRATION
07 April 2022
I have known Rose Issa since 1996 and have had the privilege of working with her since 2007, helping her in her mission of delivering knowledge and awareness about contemporary art from the Middle East. She’s not only a dearest friend, but a true cultural ambassador and a source of great inspiration throughout the development of my own artistic path. I have assisted Rose in producing many exhibitions, publications and talks. In 2020, we were faced, like everyone else, with an imposed moment of reflection, which prompted me to restructure the Rose Issa Projects website, as the focus of its activity had changed through the years.
With a long history as advisor for Middle Eastern cinema for numerous international film festivals and as organiser of film seasons, Rose has been exhibiting contemporary art from the Arab world and Iran since the 1980s, collaborating with many institutions as well as running her own galleries in London in the 1980s and later on, between 2008-2014, when she also participated to fairs such as Art Dubai. She has published books and catalogues on the artists she has exhibited and has been giving talks in museums and universities worldwide.
As I have been accompanying her for part of this journey, there was a lot of history I wasn’t very familiar with, and looking back and seeing the large amount of documentation of her activity urged me to create a website that served as an archive of her work. For me it was a priority, for many reasons.
First of all, to obviously document Rose’s activity and underline the fact that she has been the first to consistently provide a platform for Middle Eastern contemporary art and culture in the West.
Secondly, as a thank you for having been such an inspiration for me with her own example, and a continuous support along my personal path. Thanks to Rose I have learned with my own eyes what you can achieve through hard work, determination and passion; how you can overcome obstacles and frustrations; the importance and beauty of waving sincere and meaningful relations when your personal and professional life overlap; what means to nurture an ideal, an artist, a person, and to know the boundaries after which no compromise is accepted.
I had the chance to be inspired by the works of many artists to pursue my own creative journey. I continued working with Rose – that’s what I always felt that I was working ‘with her’ and not ‘for her’, as she always underlined that everyone working together was equal – while I developed as an artist. This was a truly precious condition to be in, seeing the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of the ‘business’, and always feeling her support and encouragement for my own endeavours.
Our collaboration continues nowadays as she prepares for new ventures, and the flame of inspiration continues burning.
Visit roseissaprojects.com to learn more about Rose Issa’s work.
A MARK OF A NEW BEGINNING
22 February 2022
In November 2021 Instagram has locked me out of my account and I have unsuccessfully tried to login and retrieve my content for the last three months. It seems that I will have to start all over again with rebuilding a new profile.
This frustration prompted me to swap the game roles: rather than creating specific content for my social media and risking not only to lose access to it, but also to be unable to remove it from the platform, I will create content on this page and redirect it to my social media instead. Some of the content that belonged to my old Instagram account will be now available here, archived by year.
To mark this ‘new beginning’, I’m sharing this short video realised by the young and talented David Luis Perez Magan during my 2021 exhibition of Tabula Impressa at The RW Project, Valencia, the space, run by the charismatic Kristin Gracie, who is also featured in this film, and to whom the opening image of this video is particularly connected.
Tabula Impressa #3/11 dates from 2011 and belongs to the early stages of the project, when I still didn’t know how it would progress. In two different occasions, months apart from each other, Gracie was drawn to this particular work, and described the story it recounted to her in exactly the same way. This work somehow marked the beginning of our collaboration, which then led to meeting David Luis and photographer Marta Gomez and realising this video about the project.