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Ariel Hassan

“Working on art projects stands not as an escape nor a crusade, but perhaps as a poetic lament and an attempt at translating into tangible that unfathomable space. From our fragmented reality, surviving all accidents of being, I keep striving to bring versions of this poetry into the world, translations that remain always imperfect and incomplete, but are done with as much fidelity as possible”

All images Courtesy by the artist and GAGPROJECTS

A process of self-imposed rules with aleatoric outcomes constitutes the necessity of Hassan’s art, and while primarily a painter he extends his practice to photograph, sculpture, video and performance, drawing and design. Hassan seems to derive strength by consuming, metaphorically, the body and flesh of his own production – from his earlier works to an everwidening pool of self generated references, his power comes in the seemingly inexhaustible way the ideas manifest themselves, as paintings or in other mediums. This conceptual and constant self-devouring results in bringing a new unique form to the world.

Hassan’s Antropofagia series, his current and ongoing group of greatly detailed paintings, are often very large and almost monochromatic, derived from a single base hue and extended using its shades and neutral tones of black, white and gold pigments. They are highly structured and can be read in the same way one would analyse a Renaissance painting. At first glance, these images look like they are mechanically printed, images of an existing accidental action, digitally sourced, or cannibalised, from details of previous works, manipulated and rendered laboriously with paint and brush as an analogue slightly abstracted –macrocosmic– acrylic version of a Trompe-l’oeil.

The tondo drawings in the same series stand in opposition as the microcosm showing the machinations of an uncertain form, digesting itself and regurgitating, both beautiful and repugnant simultaneously. Hassan uses pencil lightly and sensuous lines indicating space, depth, substantiality, and even motion made visible. The images seduce and can be interpreted as pustular flesh that floats in a black void or universe, disengaged from the parent organism as if seen from the dark side of the moon, the far side, with its craters piled within other craters, jumbled on top of each other dissolving and collapsing into chaos.

Extending his imagery and ideas into sculptural works is yet another characteristic metamorphosis, as geometries announcing crystal formations or raw resin brutal forms reminiscent of freshly abandoned chrysalises with open wounds, moist and inviting or repelling, still yet still in flux. It is important not to look for certitude or resolution, physical, overtly political or concrete, but accept the fluidity and existential paradox in the abstraction, an ambiguity which acts as a facade for complex figurative structures, revealing the foundations where even on earlier series stand upon.

This lack of certitude or ambivalence of discourse becomes even more evident in some of Hassan moving image projects such as ‘Traces and Determinants’, where possibly a virus like structure takes over the space following digital beats before capitulating into white light, or “Reversal of Contingency into Necessity” where a split in two perspective sections that fly away from each other reveal a landscape devoid of human presence, a space outside our jurisdiction over where individual capital letters that systematically appear performing an act of cultural equilibrium at high altitude; if put together they form a passage from the Adjustment of Controversies by Zhuangzi, a hard task to read in a proposition of opposites, possibilities of the same event, of nihilism and morality, contingency and necessity.

“Tragedy of Equality”, a 3 screen video, (Head shaving) (Mud Wrestling) (Knife fight) the Tokyo, Adelaide and Berlin Battles respectively, show direct conflict between two equal contestants occurring within a triangular ground as the states of desire, reality and expectation within the binary law of domination and subjugation that maintains an eternal action which achieves no conqueror, no sovereignty, with both equals continuously moving, consuming each-other and inevitably sharing the same space. The subjection to the ambiguity of images that Hassan invites is to fall into can also help unravel the poetry behind ‘Organic Occurrences Forming Within The Grey Zones Of Pre-existing Regimes’. Here a collection of aleatory images of fluid paint have been circumscribed within the proportions of a Fibonacci rectangle, and later dissected by it and by arrangements of Lemoine’s geometric construction of the golden ratio. These large-scale photographs of geometric and organic sections come together to recompose the topology of unknown territories, escaping definition; the sectioning affects the plasticity of the fixed image to form and deform further images within the complex maps and into our imagination.

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