In his first solo UK show, “I, the Syrian”, Tammam Azzam translates war’s absurdities into a visual language that uses lightness to convey their gravity.
Its first absurdity–the transformation of home’s familiar shapes into an unrecognizable moonscape of shelling–becomes doubly surreal seen from afar, juxtaposed against the orderly, ordinary life humming along beyond its borders. Azzam’s art one-ups life, bringing these paradoxes into play through unlikely yet telling combinations.
“Freedom Graffiti”, which went viral in early 2013, superimposed a Klimt painting of two lovers onto a mortar-pocked Damascus wall. His “Bon Voyage” series takes up another battle-scarred building and ties it to a festive bunch of balloons. Thus suspended, and miniaturized by the balloons, it floats over various peaceful landscapes as a tiny, incongruous exile. Hovering over London and Geneva, it is a vagrant envoy from a Syria still in limbo. “I, the Syrian” runs through January 30 in London and Beirut.
For more info – “I, the Syrian”