27 Jul 2017


Bassel Al Saadi

7 pm

In July and August the Syrian artist Bassel Al Saadi will live and work as an international guest artist at Villa Romana.

Born in 1971, he studied at the Institute of Applied Arts in Damascus until 1995. In his metal sculptures he initially dealt with the concepts of emptiness and the figuration of the human head. For more than eight years the focus of his work has been the box, the cube, as part of confronting the works of Louise Nevelson, Donald Judd and Joseph Cornell. For Al Saadi the box is a safe space, a womb, a personal space. It is also a space that can be occupied if the public space is inaccessible. In late 2010 there followed new works, in which he used metal plates as a painting surface.

In the first part of his lecture, Bassel Al Saadi will talk about his own artistic work, including collages and drawings as well as works in metal. The second part will comprise a reflection on the relationship between aesthetic and political criteria in art. Al Saadi will talk about the work of his friend and fellow artist Youssef Abdelke, whose early works were characterised by political statements and whose current works are silent works (objects and paintings). Al Saadi asks: "What shift does artistic work experience if direct political engagement is no longer possible? Does art become a space of escape and isolation from the grey political reality?"

In collaboration with