Aziz Art July 2017

History of art(west and middle east)- contemporary art

History of art(west and middle east)- contemporary art


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July 2017










Alberto Giacometti

1-Alberto Giacometti



15-Kenneth Armitage

17-Reza Aramesh


21-Ahmed Morsi

Director: Aziz Anzabi

Editor : Nafiseh Yaghou

Translator : Asra Yagho

Research: Zohreh Naz


Alberto Giacometti


Alberto Giacometti

10 October 1901 – 11 January


was a Swiss sculptor, painter,

draughtsman and printmaker. He

was born in the canton

Graubünden's southerly alpine

valley Val Bregaglia, as the eldest

of four children to Giovanni

Giacometti, a well-known post-

Impressionist painter.

Coming from an artistic

background, he was interested in

art from an early age.

Early life

Giacometti was born

in Borgonovo, now part of the

Switzerland municipality of

Bregaglia, near the Italian border.

He was a descendant of Protestant

refugees escaping the inquisition.

Alberto attended the Geneva

School of Fine Arts. His brothers

Diego (1902–85) and Bruno (1907–

2012) would go on to become

artists as well. Additionally,


Giacometti, later professor of

constitutional law and chancellor

of the University of Zurich grew up

together with them, having been

orphaned at the age of 12 in 1905.

In 1922 he moved to Paris to study

under the sculptor Antoine

Bourdelle, an associate of Rodin. It

was there that Giacometti

experimented with cubism and

surrealism and came to be

regarded as one of the leading

surrealist sculptors. Among his

associates were Miró, Max Ernst,

Picasso, Bror Hjorth and Balthus.

Between 1936 and 1940,

Giacometti concentrated his

sculpting on the human head,

focusing on the sitter's gaze. He

preferred models he was close to,

his sister and the artist Isabel

Rawsthorne (then known as Isabel

Delmer). This was followed by a

phase in which his statues of Isabel

became stretched out; her limbs

elongated. Obsessed with creating

his sculptures exactly as he

envisioned through his unique view

of reality, he often carved until they

were as thin as nails and reduced to

the size of a pack of cigarettes,

much to his consternation. A friend

of his once said that if Giacometti

decided to sculpt you, "he would

make your head look like the blade

of a knife

After his marriage to Annette Arm

in 1946 his tiny sculptures became

larger, but the larger they grew,

the thinner they became.

Giacometti said that the final

result represented the sensation

he felt when he looked at a


His paintings underwent a parallel

procedure. The figures appear

isolated and severely attenuated,

as the result of continuous

reworking. Subjects were

frequently revisited: one of his

favorite models was his younger

brother Diego Giacometti. A third

brother, Bruno Giacometti, was a

noted architect.

Later years

In 1958 Giacometti was asked to

create a monumental sculpture

for the Chase Manhattan Bank

building in New York, which was

beginning construction. Although

he had for many years "harbored

an ambition to create work for a

public square",he "had never set

foot in New York, and knew

nothing about life in a rapidly

evolving metropolis. Nor had he

ever laid eyes on an actual

skyscraper", according to his

biographer James Lord.

Giacometti's work on the project

resulted in the four figures of

standing women—his largest

sculptures—entitled Grande femme

debout I through IV (1960). The

commission was never completed,

however, because Giacometti was

unsatisfied by the relationship

between the sculpture and the site,

and abandoned the project.

In 1962, Giacometti was awarded

the grand prize for sculpture at the

Venice Biennale, and the award

brought with it worldwide fame.

Even when he had achieved

popularity and his work was in

demand, he still reworked models,

often destroying them or setting

them aside to be returned to years

later. The prints produced by

Giacometti are often overlooked

but the catalogue raisonné,

Giacometti – The Complete

Graphics and 15 Drawings by

Herbert Lust (Tudor 1970),

comments on their impact and

gives details of the number of

copies of each print. Some of his

most important images were in

editions of only 30 and many were

described as rare in 1970.

In his later years Giacometti's

works were shown in a number

of large exhibitions throughout

Europe. Riding a wave of

international popularity, and

despite his declining health, he

travelled to the United States in

1965 for an exhibition of his

works at the Museum of Modern

Art in New York. As his last work

he prepared the text for the book

Paris sans fin, a sequence of 150

lithographs containing memories

of all the places where he had


Artistic analysis

Regarding Giacometti's sculptural

technique and according to the

Metropolitan Museum of Art: "The

rough, eroded, heavily worked

surfaces of Three Men Walking ,

1949, typify his technique.

Reduced, as they are, to their very

core, these figures evoke lone

trees in winter that have lost their

foliage. Within this style,

Giacometti would rarely deviate

from the three themes that

preoccupied him—the walking

man; the standing, nude woman;

and the bust—or all three,

combined in various groupings."

In a letter to Pierre Matisse,

Giacometti wrote: "Figures were

never a compact mass but like a

transparent construction".In the

letter, Giacometti writes about how

he looked back at the realist,

classical busts of his youth with

nostalgia, and tells the story of the

existential crisis which precipitated

the style he became known for.

"I the wish to make compositions

with figures. For this I had to make

(quickly I thought; in passing), one

or two studies from nature, just

enough to understand the

construction of a head, of a whole

figure, and in 1935 I took a model.

This study should take, I thought,

two weeks and then I could realize

my compositions...I worked with

the model all day from 1935 to

1940...Nothing was as I imagined. A

head, became for me an object

completely unknown and without


Since Giacometti achieved

exquisite realism with facility

when he was executing busts in

his early adolescence,


difficulty in re-approaching the

figure as an adult is generally

understood as a sign of existential

struggle for meaning, rather than

as a technical deficit.

Giacometti was a key player

in the Surrealist art movement,

but his work resists easy

categorization. Some describe it

as formalist, others argue it is

expressionist or otherwise having

to do with what Deleuze calls

"blocs of sensation"

(as in Deleuze's analysis of Francis

Bacon). Even after his

excommunication from the

Surrealist group, while the

intention of his sculpting was

usually imitation, the end

products were an expression of

his emotional response to the

subject. He attempted to create

renditions of his models the way

he saw them, and the way he

thought they ought to be seen. He


said that he was sculpting not the

human figure but

that is cast".

Scholar William Barrett in Irrational

Man: A Study in Existential

Philosophy (1962), argues that the

attenuated forms of Giacometti's

figures reflect the view of 20th

century modernism and

existentialism that modern life is

increasingly empty and devoid of

meaning. "All the sculptures of

today, like those of the past, will

end one day in pieces...So it is

important to fashion ones work

carefully in its smallest recess and

charge every particle of matter with


A 2011-2012 exhibition at the

Pinacothèque de Paris focussed on

showing how Giacometti was

inspired by Etruscan art.


Giacometti's work has been the

subject of numerous solo

exhibitions including Pera Museum,

Istanbul (2015) Pushkin Museum,

Moscow (2008); “The Studio of

Alberto Giacometti: Collection of

the Fondation Alberto et Annette

Giacometti”, Centre Pompidou,

Paris (2007–2008); Kunsthal

Rotterdam (2008); Fondation

Beyeler, Basel (2009),

Buenos Aires (2012); Kunsthalle Hamburg (2013), and the High

Museum of Art, Atlanta (1970).

The National Portrait Gallery, London's first solo exhibition of

Giacometti's work, Pure Presence opened to five star reviews on 13

October 2015 (to January 10, 2016, in honour of the fiftieth anniversary

of the artist's death)



RIDIKKULUZ is a Jordanian New Yorker promoting his Middle Eastern

subculture in a surrealistic context infused with an urban influence. His

uncle started the Rowaq al Balqa foundation and gave him an artistic

premise early on; he furthered his studies in Paris and Florence.

RIDIKKULUZ is on a mission to bridge the Arab and western world

through art. A little nostalgia, trying to bring back the times where

woman could let there hair down in the Middle East during the sixties

and Arabic music is always playing and the flowers were brighter.

What's so astonishing is that this type of vintage feel also works so well

in the states because America is going through a "throwback" phase as

well. Everyone is paying homage to old stars and bohemian feels. I'm

bringing something that every walk of life can appreciate and make a

bond over.

RIDIKKULUZ has since then been featured in Al-Maha magazine, Nadi

Orthodox Magazine, and recently featured in the Daily 49er. He

currently works with BIZG87 New York, Riverside Gallery New York,

Potato Mike Gallery in New York/Paris, Rowaq Al Balqa Gallery in

Jordan/Florence, and ArtMeJo in Jordan/Lebanon.

1-I noticed much of your artwork is Well art is nothing but revealing a

made with paint, is paint your truth of some sort. Through my

favored choice when it comes to work I reveal the most honest form

creating your pieces?

of me and in turn the audience can

Yes, paint is my favored

find a truth about themselves. You

medium. In reality, anything that can see that my strokes and

makes a mark will suffice. technique is just as hyperactive,

I like to use Moroccan pigments spontaneous, pessimistic, intense

and mix it with linseed oil for the and emotional as I am.

most vibrant colors.

2- How is your personality reflected

in your work?

3-Furthermore, has your Middle

Eastern background/ancestry

played a major role in influencing

your artwork?

The instruments almost sound like

they’re crying. I try to give my

pieces (the inanimate object here)

the same effect.

It has played a huge role. I think

the best way to navigate the

journey to the “self” is to turn

back time and analyse every little

piece of you that has made you,

you. Ethnic background is

something we take for granted but

is embedded in us. How you react

when you feel heart broken, the

way you cross your legs when you

sit to simply raise a cup of tea to

your lips. All this is important. I’m

trying to expose this through my

work some how. Just how my

culture is ingrained in me it is also

engrained in my artwork. All the

figures and faces all seem to have

that same aquiline nose, the

dramatic Arabic eyes, lips that

yearn to be kissed. Apart of me

also wants to give Arab’s

something to show for besides the

reputation we have on the news.

The Middle Eastern music that I

paint to also plays a huge part.

Songs that go on for hours on end

with instruments we are

unfamiliar with move the soul.

4-Tell me, what kind of exhibits or

art shows have showcased your

work? How does it feel to have

your artwork displayed for all to


I’ve showed in many exhibits

varying from joined exhibits here in

NYC to different features abroad in

Europe and the Middle East. It’s

honestly most shocking to see

people’s reactions. At most times

they are intrigued and left asking a

lot of questions. Even though I am

sometimes left unsatisfied, they

quench for more. Whether its

confusion over the androgyny of

the figures or feeling some time of

sombre emotion, they’re left

wanting to interrogate me as if I

have some explaining to do.

5-You've described yourself as a

"Jordanian New Yorker promoting

societal subcultures" with his

paintbrush — what do you mean by

societal subcultures exactly? And

how does your artwork help get

this work done?

Society is made up of a culture

and within that culture is different

subcultures. You take what

you are, dissect it and study it.

Gender, Race, Sexuality, Ethnicity,

State, borough, community,

political views. Subcultures are the

most important thing right now in

2016. We’ve come to a point

where we are making cos-play of

our lives. “shit black people say”,

that Dominican guy playing loud

music from his bodega, the stinky

Arab at the airport. Being a New

Yorker plays a huge role in this

study. Living in the most diverse

and populated city in the world

can give you so much exposure.

You’ll really start to feel

the weight of the world.

You have to make it laughable,

through humor people can take

their truth and be less offended.

Just two days ago,

I painted 5 ladies sipping out

of the same cup. They’re gossiping,

get it haha?!

6-Do you feel the nationwide

community of artists have

welcomed you with open arms?

Have you ever received any kind of

social exclusion from this


A lot of these artists are so talented

and some of the nicest people. On

the other hand the ones curating it

are not necessarily. Middle eastern

art is the most traumatic and

intense work I’ve ever seen. This

might be biased, but maybe the

best. You don’t see enough Middle

Eastern art in galleries. In my

opinion the American taste in art is

horrible. In Europe they ate my art

up. Just two days ago I saw a blob

of slime selling for $50,000. “da

fuck”. Also places like Pier 1 imports

and home goods have brainwashed

the American people to think a nice

art piece for their home should cost

no more than 50 bucks. Ha, you can

buy one of my prints.

7-Tell me a few of your aspirations

in life — where do you hope your

artwork might take you someday?

I hope to come to terms with

myself, completely. I hope to find

that child society made me lock in a

cellar long ago (dramatic lol). I

don’t think we become anything. I

think we’re already formed but we

add layers to ourselves like an

onion and then spend most of our

late adult years peeling those layers

off. That’s what I am doing with my

work as time goes on.

I am peeling away the layers that

aren’t me. If I had it my way I

would paint the whole city until

my body collapses. But there is

rules put in place regulating

creatives, what

does that say about

us as a society?

8-I've noticed some Arab

calligraphy in your artwork, would

you consider your work to be

contemporary Middle Eastern art?

Yes, I would consider it

contemporary middle eastern art

but not because of the calligraphy…

but because I did it… and I am

Middle Eastern … and my art work 9- Is ridikkuluz your pseudonym?

is me and I am my art work. Yes it is. Funny. I got it from Harry

Potter and then twisted the letters

to make it look more appealing. In

the book the spell is used to make a

joke out of what you fear the most.

Maybe I fear myself?

10-Tell me about the kind of praise

or criticism your work has received.

Well it usually varies. Not

necessarily positive or negative but

more questioning. “Why can’t I tell

the gender?” “Why is it sad?” … I

like that it makes people want to

stare. Most critiques and reviews

are on my site: ridikkuluz.com

11-Are you Jordanian or Jordanian-


Jordanian American

12-What would you say makes

your art distinct from other

Middle Eastern and American

contemporary works involving


It's a mixture of both. That's the

difference. I take the techniques

they teach kids at art school in the

states with the vibrations,

humming and haphazard bells you

hear when looking at middle

eastern art... it's just too intense ..

vibrates like a mmhmmm sound ..

not to sound cocky but I don't feel

that vibration when I look at other

pieces of work.. maybe it's

because it's mine haha

13-You mentioned that you

consider contemporary Middle

Eastern art to be "traumatic and

intense." How so?

The years of oppression shows

through. Its the pulling and tugging

between a world that's brought up

by Islamic influences but wants to

be westernized so bad. It's the girl

that pulls off her hijab when her

family isn't looking. You see that in

all various forms of middle eastern

art. Bridging the gaps between

something that wants to be but


14-Would you say the majority of

your pieces are paintings of

people? If so, who are these

people? Family? Celebrities?


Yes. The Arabic people hold their

musicians dear to their hearts.

Singers such as oum khalthoum,

Abdel haleem, fairouz etc can be

compared to the American Nina

Symone, Frank Sinatra etc. These

people are icons to the Middle

Eastern population. I also like to

draw people with interesting

character faces. A cleft chin. A gap

in the teeth. Frog looking eyes. An

oversized nose. What isn't beautiful

to society is beautiful to me.

Kenneth Armitage 15

William Kenneth Armitage

CBE 18 July 1916 – 22 January


was a British sculptor known for

his semi-abstract bronzes.


Armitage studied at the Leeds

College of Art and the Slade

School of Fine Art in London

before joining the British Army in

1939. Armitage became head

of the sculpture department at

the Bath Academy of Art in 1946,

a year after completing his

military service, and served for a

decade. In 1952, he held his first

one-man show in London.

In 1953, he became

Great Britain's first university

artist in residence, at the

University of Leeds (to 1956). In

1958, he won best international

sculpture under age 45 at the

Venice Biennale. Armitage was

made CBE in 1969 and was

elected to the Royal Academy in



Armitage's striking mature style

was evident as early as 1952. Most

of his works are recognizably

human, but are sometimes joined

with the forms of animals or

furniture. Many displayed quirky

humor. Armitage was also

interested in ancient Egyptian and

Cycladic art and his works have an

archaic flavour. He was featured in

the 1964 documentary film "5

British Sculptors (Work and Talk)"

by American filmmaker Warren



1960: Kenneth Armitage - Lynn

Chadwick, Kestner-Gesellschaft,

Hannover, Germany

1963: Kenneth Armitage - Galerie

Charles Lienhard, Zurich,


During the 1960s and beyond,

Armitage adapted to the styles of

the times, sometimes incorporating

plastic or spray paint.

Reza Aramesh


Reza Aramesh

I was born on an early December

morning, in the south-west of

Iran, at a time when everything

was covered with snow.

According to my mother, it was

the easiest labour she has ever

had! I was her fourth child. By the

time the midwife arrived I was

already out. Filled with joy, my

grandmother screamed as she

rushed to open the door with the

news that I was a boy. Assuming

that yet another baby girl was

to be born into the family, they

were not looking forward to my

mother's labour.

I grew up in a very small town,

surrounded by amazing

mountains that were almost

always covered with snow, even

in the midst of the heat of the

summer. Every time I would try to

imagine a way of leaving the town

as fast as possible, my mind would

shut down: I felt that there was no


I used to spend the summer with

my grandparents, where my bed

was usually prepared in the garden.

This was the perfect place for

dreaming. I would stare at the stars

for hours, feeling that I could

almost touch them. Often, I would

imagine a world so different, miles

away - somewhere new, unfamiliar

and yet very, very exciting.

That childhood refuge in my

grandparent's garden didn't last

very long. The war between Iran

and Iraq was declared and instead

of staring at the stars, my eyes

began to follow the dark smoke

that the warplanes left behind.

In the mid-1980s, I managed to

leave Iran: my aim was to emigrate

to the USA. I was so excited

throughout the journey. At the

same time I was filled with fear: will

I be allowed to enter the country? I

was looking forward to seeing all

those fantastic tall buildings in

close-up. I had even decided I

would not live anywhere below a

25th-floor apartment in New York.

After a few hours into the journey

the plane had to stop in London

and all the passengers were asked

to disembark. I remember that

from the air London looked grey

and full of small houses and

chimneys. I was so relieved that

London was not my final

destination. A couple of hours

later, however, I was told at the

immigration desk that I was not

going to be allowed to enter the

USA because of the political

situation between Iran and

America. I was also told that I

could remain in Britain on a

temporary visa. Later, they said, I

could try to obtain a US visa.

My dream of the giant buildings

and of an energetic city crowded

with vibrant people soon

collapsed. I settled for a tiny room

in a semi-detached house in Surrey,

with an old woman and her grownup

son. She insisted that I call her

"mum". She didn't know how much

I had been through just to escape

home! Of course, I could not

explain any of that to her - at the

time, the only thing I could say in

English was "Hello, my name is

Reza". I was 15.

My favourite place

It's difficult to choose my favourite

place in London - there are so

many. But I think it is the City at

lunchtime - I find it full of energy

and vitality. There is a sense of lack

of time, almost everyone seems to

be running out of time. Also,

people mostly look unhappy and, in

a very sadistic way, I like that - it

makes me feel comfortable with

the choice I've made!





Ahmed Morsi


Ahmed Morsi

was born in Alexandria, Egypt in

1930. In 1954, he graduated from

the University

of Alexandria,Faculty of Arts with

a major in English Literature.

During the years 1952-53, he

studied art in the studio of the

Italian master Antonio Becci,

whose former students included

Seif Wanly, in Alexandria. Early on,

Ahmed Morsi was initiated into

Alexandria’s literary society

as well as the city’s very own

rising group of artists. By his early

twenties, he was participating in

group shows with Egypt’s most

notable modern artists,

including A Al Gazzar, H El

Telmisani, I Massouda, F Kamel,

H Nada and M Moussa. In 1949,

he started writing poetry and

developed this talent in parallel

with his painting – publishing his

first Diwan, “Songs of the

Temples / Steps in Darkness”

at the age of 19.


Morsi moved to Baghdad, Iraq in

1955, where he taught English to

supplement his two-year stay. This

was a time of a

cultural renaissance in Iraq, when

Baghdad was a center for the

literati, the artists and the

intellectuals. It was in Baghdad that

he developed a friendship and a

working relationship with several

Iraqi writers and painters, among

them Abdel Wahab Al Bayati, Fuad

Al Takarli and Ardash Kakavian; and

these relationships continued to

produce noteworthy creative

cooperation as well as lifelong

friendships throughout the coming


Returning to Egypt, he moved to

Cairo in 1957. In these years,

Ahmed Morsi was the first Egyptian

to work alongside Egypt’s

acclaimed playwrights, Alfred

Farag, Abdel Rahman Al Sharkawi,

designing stage sets and costumes

for The National Theater at the

original, Khedieval, Cairo Opera

House – art forms that had until

then previously been relegated only

to Italian designers. He also

partnered with Abdel Hadi Al

Algazzar and co-designed stage sets

for an American play at the Cairo

Opera House. Other projects with

Al Gazzar included a book of

Morsi’s poetry alongside Al Gazzar’s


The book was never published due

to Al Gazzar’s untimely passing,

however the poetry/drawings live

on. In 1968, he co-founded the

avant-garde magazine

“Gallery ‘68” with

Edwar Al Kharrat,

Ibrahim Mansour, Gamil Atteya,

Sayed Hegab and others. This

publication immediately became

Egypt’s most reputable source as

the voice of the new modernism.

With these years began the

Artist’s journey into the world of

criticism, publishing critiques on

both art and literature, both of

which remaining intimate

domains. He wrote two items for

Grand Larousse Encyclopedia

(1975); “Art in Egypt” and

Art in Iraq”. Again the pioneer,

Ahmed Morsi introduced a new

creative vehicle to the art public in

Egypt with his 1995 show: “The

Artist’s Book”. Following his

exhibition, a new Biennial, The

Artist’s Book, was created in


In 1974, Ahmed Morsi moved to

New York City, where he continues

to paint, write and critique from his

Manhattan home.In 1976, like

many artists residing in the NYC

area, he took up the art of

lithography at The New School and

added yet another dimension to his

creative tools and in the last 20

years, the Artist embraced

photography – the last art form to

be included in Ahmed Morsi’s

extensive palette.


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