Shawki Youssef, Growing Waters on Earth Boy, 2011, Mixed media, 120 x 134 cm.

Shawki Youssef's Meditations on the Fate of Bodies in States of Conflict

Shawki Youssef, Borrowing Botticelli's Delicacy, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 134 x 97 cm.

Shawki Youssef, The Weight of Speed, 2011, Mixed media, 205 x 142 cm.

 

Green Art Gallery
Al Quoz 1, Street 8,
Al Serkal Avenue, Unit 28
+ 9714 346 9305
Dubai
Shawki Youssef. Acid Fields
May 6-June 23, 2013

Acid Fields continues Shawki Youssef's investigation of body representation in contemporary art, and acts as an epilogue to his two previous solo shows; Hollow Flesh at Agial Gallery, Beirut and Fluid Being at Green Art Gallery, Dubai.

Working predominantly on paper, but also on canvas, Youssef’s practice is characterized by his explosive and visceral depictions of the body, often evoking the mutilated subjects found in Francis Bacon’s paintings. Disembodied limbs, embracing torsos and explosive fragments, are constantly in a state of flux, illustrating the effects that disease, war, love and lust, have on the collective.

Acting as a diary and archive of what it means to be a body living in the Middle East, Youssef’s anonymous bodies depict the manifestation of emotional trauma externalized.

In this final installment of his trilogy presented in Acid Fields, Youssef’s bodies have taken an abstract turn, appearing eerily stagnant and jagged. The fluidity of movement so characteristic of his two previous series, appears to have been replaced by the harsher geometry of bone and limb.

The violent civil war in Syria, with its reverberations in the entire region, but mostly so in his native homeland, has taken its toll. This absence of a clear and centralized human form not only reflects the artist’s struggle to depict the extent of the emotional repercussions of these growing social wounds, but also creates a map of small spaces, which invite the viewer to trace, decipher, and find meaning alongside him.

Born in Beirut in 1973, Shawki Youssef received his BFA at the Lebanese University in Beirut in 1994, before going on to complete his MSc at St. Joseph’s University in 2007. His work extends to multiple mediums including painting, drawing, video, and installations. Recent solo exhibitions include Hollow Flesh (2011), at Agial Art Gallery in Beirut, Lebanon, and Fluid Being (2011) in Dubai, UAE.

Shawki Youssef, Grasp that Spine, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 215 x 143 cm.

Shawki Youssef, Ego Fall, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 224 x 140 cm.

Shawki Youssef, Mud, Iron, and Ink for a perfect crime, Mixed media on canvas, 143 x 402 cm, 2011.

Shawki Youssef, Fluid being, evaporated bones, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 140 x 224 cm.

Bodies in Gravity, Studies and Meditations on Psychological Torment

Shawki Youssef, Body as space separation, 2010, Mixed media on canvas, 192 x 153 cm.

Shawki Youssef, That sick hope of this becoming a past, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 120 x 93 cm.

Shawki Youssef, Mercure, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 188 x 140 cm.

 

Green Art Gallery
Al Quoz 1, Street 8, Al Serkal Avenue, Unit 28
+ 9714 346 9305
Dubai
Shawki Youssef. Fluid Being
May 3-June 3, 2011

In his first solo exhibition in Dubai, Lebanese artist Shawki Youssef presents a series of new works reflecting his ongoing exploration of body representations within painting. The bodies articulated in the works with strong visual gestures act in a manner which transcends pure illustration, depicting rather, how psychological elements torment and manifest within the body itself. Roused with tension the bodies are intertwined in an embrace that simultaneously reflects the aggressively carnal and instinctual needs of man, and the delicate nature of his utterly exposed vulnerability.

Attempting to create an uncensored stream from the unconscious to the canvas itself, Youssef tackles the physical performance of painting with an impulsiveness that is purposely never preconceived. While the resulting canvases and mutilated subjects often bring to mind Francis Bacon, the latter never altered the subjects of his work beyond recognition. Youssef’s anonymous bodies act as an illustration of the collective, of a society that has been affected by war, poverty and disease, and who the artist leaves — in a murderous mess — to put its individual pieces back together.

While the effects these factors have on the human physical condition are obvious, it is the externalization of the emotional and esoteric trauma endured that the figures depicted ultimately represent. Existing as both storytellers and archivists, Youssef’s bodies act as a diary for what it means to be a body living in the Middle East. The same body revolting today in the Arab world against the inhumane, the oppressed, and ultimately the frozen capsule of time itself.

Born in Beirut in 1973, Shawki Youssef received his BFA at the Lebanese University in Beirut in 1994, before going on to complete his MSc at St. Joseph’s University in 2007. His work extends to multiple mediums including painting, drawing, video, and installations. His most recent solo exhibition Hollow Flesh, 2011, presented at the Agial Art Gallery in Beirut, Lebanon.

Shawki Youssef, Shouting Fish, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 167 x 140 cm.

Shawki Youssef, Grasp that spine, Mixed media on canvas, 215 x 143 cm, 2011

Shawki Youssef, Ego Fall, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 224 x 140 cm.

Shawki Youssef, Apple, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 143 x 178 cm.