Wake up and smell the poppies: Artist Taha Hussein exhibits Van Gogh inspired painting
The Al Masar Gallery hosted the opening of the new exhibition by contemporary artist Taha Hussein, called Latest Work on Paper, on Sunday 21 April. The exhibition includes works from the years 2011 to 2013. We met with the artist, who gave us his own ideas and vision concerning the exhibition.
“This exhibition is a collection of recordings or sketches. The work depends on quick touches of the brush, which are spontaneous and sensory. The works express the states of isolation, meditation and most importantly a state of alertness for all that is new. The collection expresses values of colour and calligraphy, which mix together to present a vision of spontaneity and openness, with a certain system. The spontaneity mixes with a whole system to create a new vision for my artwork. The system depends on the straight line and its geometrical nature, and the spontaneity depends on the brush stroke and the improvisation of vision. All my artwork has a plan and a special vision, which depends on each stage [of my art life]. For instance, sometimes my own vision pays attention to the overall appearance [of the artwork], or the subject or the line or geometry. This collection depends on the tradition of the straight line and its geometrical aspect, and at the same time, it combines aspects of visual arts, such as pure experimentalism,” Hussein explained.
The paintings were affected by the country’s unrest. “During this past period I was unable to go to my atelier or studio because of everything that is happening in society. It was not fear but I was trying not to put myself in a whirlpool, where I would doubt my ability to return or something happens in the street. So there was isolation. I created a small studio in my own home and started to work. The place allowed me great discipline and organisation. It also helped with creating a wholesome geometrical vision,” Hussein said.
When asked about his favourite paintings Hussein pointed to two abstract paintings. “There are two paintings which were made during the summer and the colors were fresh. They depend on basmala, (decorative lines), which requires a long period of time to perfect it. I really cherish them because they allowed me to combine organisation with spontaneity. They also gave me the right vision of the place in which I was working,” Hussein said.
One of the paintings in the exhibition was an adaptation of the stolen painting by Van Gogh “Poppy Flowers”. “The Poppy Flowers painting has the same structure as the Van Gogh painting. He painted it with spontaneity, not with a mathematical system. So, I turned it into a geometrical painting. I wanted to know why this painting in particular is surrounded with so many problems. I decided to analyse the painting and I found out that its structure invites thought and meditation. I also found out that when it is turned into a geometrical painting, its structure dominates the painting itself and the subject,” Hussein explained.
Hussein wanted to become an artist from childhood: “I knew I was an artist when I was in elementary school. When I was in school there was attention for the arts. I was very good at arts and crafts. Then, during college, I had great professors who inspired me to become an artist. So art has become a part of my biology. I cannot sit there without doing something artistic.”
The exhibition is in Al Masar gallery in Zamalek, and will continue till 9 May.