Serwan Baran’s recent body of work extends the formal and political preoccupations of Fatherland, the solo exhibition with which he represented Iraq at the Venice Biennale in 2019. In addition to a large series of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, he has produced a work of staggering proportions to complement his equally monumental painting from the pavilion, entitled The Last Meal. In his current exhibition, Baran provides a counternarrative to the artworks he was obligated to produce as a war artist in the Iraqi army. While he was instructed to represent the nation and its leaders as beautiful and triumphant then, he now seeks to show the destruction that is absent is such state-mandated political propaganda.
Serwan Baran (b. Baghdad, 1968) received a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Babylon in Hillah, Iraq. In the 1990s, Baran’s work was shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Iraq. He was awarded a youth prize in Baghdad in 1990, and the first and second prizes of the Baghdad International Festival of Plastic Arts in 1994 and 1995, respectively. In 2001, he participated in the Ayloul Summer Academy, a residency program led by artist Marwan Kassab-Bachi at Darat al-Funun in Amman, Jordan. He moved to Amman in 2003 during the American invasion of Iraq and, since 2013, he has
A Harsh Beauty
14 February - 18 April, 2020
Encounters - ongoing
The series of drawings, Encounters – ongoing, which first appeared in the Journal Art Margins (Vol. 8, no.3), stems from chance meetings on leisurely road trips around the mountains of Lebanon. The drawings act as markers of Kalache’s conversations with landowners, farmers, and people directly working in the fields. Each conversation is represented by a simple tree branch, or a fragment of a (flowering) plant, belonging to the site and moment the encounter took place. This fragment indexes an encounter in which the farmer’s story, experience, or relationship to the land and its borders was shared. Excerpts from these exchanges are also hand-written on the picture plane. In the directness of the creative process, and the abstraction of the conversations, this project alludes to, and yet blurs, the sectarian divisions upon which the ownership of land is based, as well as a present geopolitical context. The drawings share the marking of unplanned encounters through the representations of fragmented personal accounts along specific terrains and borders.
Born in Beirut, Hiba Kalache is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice spans installation, drawing, painting, and sculpture. Kalache received in 2005 an MFA from California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.
Encounters - ongoing
2 July - 29 August, 2020