Raed Yassin. Amnesiac Commissions
13 February - 29 March 2014 at Kalfayan Gallery, Athens
Kalfayan Galleries are pleased to present the second solo exhibition in their Athens space of the Lebanese artist Raed Yassin. Titled “Amnesiac Commissions”.
Works of Raed Yassin, who is currently doing a residency at The Delfina Foundation in London, were recently exhibited at the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art and the Boghossian Foundation in Brussels. The artist’s solo exhibition, “Amnesiac Commissions” negotiates themes of personal and collective narrative and memory in an attempt to challenge a common survival tool, that of selective amnesia.
“Yassin Dynasty” consists of a series of porcelain works depicting several battles from the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) produced in Jingdezhen, the capital of porcelain production in China. The project is derivative from the work “China” (2012) that was made possible with the support of the Abraaj Group Art Prize. The “Yassin Dynasty” works are part-beautiful object, part-historical document, and part-mass-produced product. They echo the ancient tradition of recording victories at battle on vases and ceramics for the sake of posterity, and suggest that countless objects painted by different porcelain masters are being reproduced under the same fictional ‘dynasty’. The battles detailed on the exhibited works are ones that were instrumental for territorial, demographic and political shifts in Lebanon, and their ramifications are still tangible today. The works also embody the image of a Chinese decorative readymade object that could possibly be found in any Lebanese home. This merging between traditional, historical and artisanal elements creates a conceptually complex and multi-layered work.
Yassin pursues the theme of memory in the series “Dancing, Smoking, Kissing” in an effort to materialize reminiscences of childhood. The artist, who comes from a family of tailors, has computer-stitched imagery onto older embroidered textiles. Based not only on old photographs that have been lost over time but primarily on reminiscences of past events from childhood, Yassin’s elaborate works constitute a material recovery of past memories. According to independent curator and critic Nat Muller, “Raed Yassin literally, and mechanically, reproduces the visual fabric of his childhood memories in a series of embroideries in Dancing, Smoking, Kissing. He takes the viewer on a pictorial walk down memory lane by threading together the mental images of his childhood with their disappeared photographic representations. […] Colourful, intimate and ornamental these embroideries simultaneously emit a sensibility of domesticity while also retaining a mass-produced and mechanized feel, which to an extent dilutes the highly personal element of the project. In Dancing, Smoking, Kissing, Yassin never succeeds in fully reconstructing or retrieving the original image, if there ever was one to start with, instead he provides us with the stitched material rendition of memory.”
Raed Yassin (b. 1979, Beirut, Lebanon) lives and works in Beirut. He graduated from the Theatre Department of the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut in 2003. Raed Yassin has exhibited and performed his work in numerous museums, festivals and venues, including the The Running Horse, Beirut; Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain, Brussels; 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art; Singapore Art Museum; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Beirut Art Center (all 2013); New Museum, New York (2012); Kalfayan Galleries, Athens; Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki; Sharjah Biennial 10; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (all 2011); Delfina Foundation, London (residency 2014 & 2010-2011); Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010). Awards and Grants: Abraaj Group Art Prize (2012), Fidus Prize (2009), AFAC grant for production (2010), YATF grant for production (2008 & 2012) and the Cultural Resource grant for production (2008). Yassin is one of the organizers of Irtijal Festival, and has released 12 music albums and founded the production company Annihaya in 2009. He is also a founding member of "Atfal Ahdath", a Beirut based art collective. An artist and musician, Yassin's work often originates from an examination of his personal narratives and their position within a collective history, through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. Raed Yassin is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki.
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- Raed Yassin, Gentleman Raed (Dancing Smoking Kissing Series), 2013, silk thread embroidery on embroidered silk cloth, 80 x 60 cm, Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens - Thessaloniki
- Raed Yassin, Raed the Sindbad (“Dancing, Smoking, Kissing” series), 2013, silk thread embroidery on embroidered silk cloth, 85 x 60 cm, Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens - Thessaloniki
- Raed Yassin, Mama Mira and the Doll (Dancing Smoking Kissing Series), 2013, silk thread embroidery on embroidered silk cloth, 105 x 95 cm, Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens - Thessaloniki