From Miami to New York, via London, Berlin and Milan. L’Italian-Egyptian artist Omar Hassanson of tolerance, for the first time in Palermo in the building that houses the Palatine Chapel, symbol of integration par excellence with the exhibition ‘Point‘ which will be staged at Palazzo Reale. The first of the works that welcomes in the exhibition is a courageous reinterpretation of Nike of Samothrace, ‘pregnant’. Celebrate Peace (PHOTO GALLERY).Read also
“I had been reflecting on this work for years, but a place like the Royal Palace of Palermo was needed. Lhe Nike Praegnans is a symbol of Victory, but also of Freedom in a world characterized by contradictions and wars. Nike renews its representation and symbolizes Peace”, said Omar Hassan this morning, during the press conference to present ‘Punctum’, in the presence of the general manager Patrizia Monterosso.
The unprecedented exhibition is the result of an authentic dialogue on the Milan-Palermo axis between the Italian-Egyptian artist and the Federico II Foundation itself. It will open tomorrow, March 24 to the public and will be usable until October 1. Omar Hassan’s art is in constant experimentation and explores the interstitial space between classicism and contemporaneity, connecting past, present and future. There is no distinction between painting and sculpture. The concept and the action remain at the basis of each of his artistic gestures. Omar Hassan uses color to capture the viewer’s attention, but the true meaning of the work is hidden behind the color. The use of the canvas is in perfect harmony with the phenomenon of the crisis of easel painting. The lexical stratification and the overcoming of the hierarchies between painting and sculpture also represent the stylistic figure of his production, well rooted in ancient art and in the historical-artistic tradition but reaching out to the future and in search of the new.
But Punctum is also the symbiosis between Omar Hassan and Palazzo Reale in the sign of pure site-specific: it could not have been otherwise if the meeting takes place between an artist of a Christian-Catholic mother and a Muslim father, who predisposed him to tolerance and the new, and the “idea factory” building since the time of Frederick II, which houses the marvelous Palatine Chapel, symbol par excellence of the integration between cultures. There are 7 out of 15 site-specific works: the suggestions of Palazzo Reale have stimulated an artistic impulse in Omar Hassan which takes the form of the creation of ∞Lights, Self-Portrait, Pax, Triloquio, No Filter, the Nona IX and the map of Palermo.
“We wanted Omar Hassan – he says Gaetano Galvagno, President of the Federico II Foundation – because it bears witness to the art of our time. We as the Federico II Foundation have the daily responsibility of keeping a building that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site contemporary and that was already characterized by a forward-looking creative impulse in the past. I think, from his point of view, Omar Hassan accepted the challenge for the same reason. Palazzo Reale is, in fact, the ideal place to put past, present and future into dialogue and express his art full of action and energycapable of being contemporary, while welcoming and reworking the tradition of classical art”.
“The point – ha ditto Patrizia Monterosso, director general of the Federico II Foundation – it is the intolerance of lazily accepting an idea of art that renounces to express itself with energy to delve into a creative experimentalism that becomes a critical lever to open one’s eyes to reality. The title of the exhibition comes from a perspective shared by the Federico II Foundation with the artist in order to conceive exhibitions as a reaction to an alarming trend of rendering art to that density which no longer touches the depths”.
Energy that explodes imperious, for example, in the now famous Breaking Through, which made him famous throughout the world as an artist-boxer. ‘I’m not punching to destroy, I’m creating!’, incessantly underlines Omar, who brings two works from this ‘series’ to Palermo. As you know, to artistic interests Omar has joined the discipline of boxing for years, a sport which however he was forced to abandon for health reasons. Omar Hassan has exhibited in Miami and New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Paris and Milan: today an artist in full evolution arrives in Palermo. The creation of his Maps of him results in works in which he wants to bring the world into the world through art. To create the map of Palermo he used 8928 spray can caps painted one by one. The work is not only the geographical reference of one of his artistic landings, but it is also a tribute to the value of the individual as part of a serene and harmonious whole, each of equal importance, each in its essentiality. “In big cities – further observes Omar Hassan – there is a clear distinction between the center and the suburbs. In Palermo, the center and some difficult neighborhoods are almost bordering. I think it’s a first symptom of integration.”
The IX Nona is one of the works on display, which indicates “an infinite illumination, the light of light, which illuminates the dark and kindles hope”. The work IX Nona stands alongside the large work ∞Lights, which dominates at the back of the exhibition space. Made by the artist on the occasion of the exhibition in Palermo to enter into dialogue with the great spirituality of the Palatine Chapel through rebirth and regeneration. Omar’s version of the Belvedere Torso, on display, is conceived in strong tension with the work ∞Lights. It is as if that muscular tension of the Torso wanted to be further renewed in the dynamism of a further path that must be followed.
An exclusive dialogue with Omar Hassan, renamed ‘Inside Omar‘, is contained in the official catalog of the exhibition, published by the Federico II Foundation. An excerpt of the dialogue, in a video-interview version, is projected at the entrance to the exhibition and accompanies the viewer in getting to know the artist and his art. Hassan, born and raised in the suburbs of Milan, tells how he managed to get up from one of those suburban benches where other potential talents remained unexpressed, generating only ‘seated dreams’. But “in my house – he reveals – not bringing results was tantamount to being a failure. When you fall, in boxing as in life, you have to get right back up.” This flow of art and life passes with original and multi-level results in his production which includes a marked autobiographical component, from the content choices of the works to the gradually elaborated technique.