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MAJD KURDIEH RETROSPECTIVE
Celebrated artist Majd Kurdieh's retrospective exhibition, presented by Fann À Porter in collaboration with ZAAT will make its debut in Beirut, Lebanon from 6 June to 26 June 2023. Building on the success of the previous retrospective exhibition in Cairo, Egypt in 2020, this exhibition showcases Kurdieh's artistic journey over the past nine years.
As whimsical as ever, this retrospective exhibition embodies the journey of Majd Kurdieh’s art and his commitment to deliver an understanding of the human experience. It begins with The Land Needs Ironing (2014-2016), a series begun in a decade fraught with war. Kurdieh chose his brush as a weapon, depicting peaceful yet powerful messages. Highlighting painful fault lines created by political upheaval, he manages to tend to what remains of innocence, calling on the Samsh and the Fasaeen to lead the way to brighter days. True to its name, Stealing Sadness (2017-2018) depicts The Very Scary Butterfly Gang on a mission. Prerequisites of sadness thieves include a light touch and a lighthearted spirit to boot. Though their name may be scary,
The Very Scary Butterfly Gang only wish to replace sadness, which can often feel as heavy and huge as a whale, with a feather to help you rise above your sorrows and the barriers that separate us as humans. As time goes by, so too does the story of The Gang. In his series, Surrender to Love (2018), Kurdieh’s characters are all softness, both figuratively and literally as they’ve shed their previous outlines and by default, their confines. They are, afterall, surrendering to the greatest power, love. A striking contrast is presented in Hold Onto The Flower (2019), an ink on paper series ironically portrayed in black and white. Kurdieh’s famous cast of characters have remained the same in name, however, his proclivity for expressing complex realities through simple visuals has evolved through each series as the characters appear technically enhanced on the canvas. Joining their number in Hold Onto The Flower is Mr. Mouse, for whom nothing is impossible, and who raises the Sun Flag in the face of storms. In his 2020 series, We Continue To Raise The Flag Of The Sun, a certain member is featured more prominently: The Cactus. In Arabic, “cactus” and “patience” are the same word and the new Gang member represents this virtue time and again, particularly in the vibrant watercolor scenes.
Majd Kurdieh's 2021 collection Watermelon Peace, confronts humanity's increasing restlessness and turmoil with depictions of unwavering love, belief, and the discovery of inner peace. Bursting with light and color, the paintings exude a passionate aesthetic that matches the intensity of the subject matter. Love is at the forefront in Kurdieh’s 2022 series, One Wound, One Smile, with two opposing forces emerging as recurring themes: the wound and the smile. As is characteristic of his work, complex human emotions and experiences are rendered discernible through the use of characters and elements. For example, sadness is depicted as being as large as a whale, while sorrow is portrayed as a flood with crashing waves. The wound is a mix of nostalgia, hope, and sorrow.
The heart is likened to a fish, finding its place in the vast ocean of this world. Beauty is personified as a woman, and desire as a man. The ultimate prize life has to offer, according to Kurdieh, is love, personified in the characters Fasoon and Fasooneh. Majd Kurdieh's new series made in 2023 titled The Wing of the Dream is a departure from his previous works as it focuses on the depiction of birds in a more realistic manner. The series explores the themes of duality and contradiction, as highlighted in the artist statement. The birds in the paintings are not only meant to represent the freedom of flight but also to symbolize the fragility of life and the fleeting nature of existence. Through his use of color and texture, Kurdieh creates a dream-like atmosphere, blurring the line between reality and imagination A fitting conclusion, if only for now, to the continuing story.
The concepts of home, love, devotion and sadness ring strong in all his creations. Kurdieh is masterful in his ability to express our realities through the strokes of his brush and the power of his words. As noted by the artist himself, his art and its characters are of this world, not merely a fantasy. If you care to look deeply enough, he offers a portal to a place of hope and togetherness should you wish to experience it.
Assafir Newspaper building
Mneimneh st, Saroulla descent, Hamra