WORK of the WEEK - KHALED TAKRETI - Joujoux, Hiboux, Cailloux

From 22 to 28 January - Galerie Claude Lemand

  • Takreti, Joujoux, Hiboux, Cailloux (Les Grands Enfants).

    Joujoux, Hiboux, Cailloux (Les Grands Enfants), 2007-2008. Acrylic on paper on canvas, 130 x 320 cm. © Khaled Takreti. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

Khaled TAKRETI, Joujoux, Hiboux, Cailloux, 2007-2008. Mixed media on strong paper, 130 x 320 cm.

Khaled Takreti is Syrian, born in 1964 in Beirut. He left to study archi­tec­ture and design as well as engraving at the University of Damascus, before devoting him­self to painting, which became a pas­sion and a therapy from the 1990s. After trav­el­ling to Egypt and USA, he moved to Paris in the early 2000s.

“ These dif­ferent places of res­i­dence have con­tributed to forging his ques­tioning of the notions of iden­tity and origin, which focuses less on geo­graph­ical or cul­tural aspects than on his family roots. This no doubt explains the recur­ring pres­ence in his work of family por­traits, in par­tic­ular of his mother. Each painting then becomes the page of a diary. However, far from retreating into a per­sonal drama, Khaled Takreti opens up, over the years, to a more uni­versal per­spec­tive, to which the internal Syrian and Lebanese con­flicts - both polit­ical and soci­etal - are no strangers.

His pic­to­rial lan­guage, very close to Pop art, allows him to approach the fail­ings of the world around him (for example the excesses linked to the con­sumer society, the restric­tions of freedom) with a sar­castic humor tinged with self-deri­sion, when he includes his own image in his com­po­si­tion. This humor, how­ever, rests on an obvious basis of seri­ous­ness; it seems to cor­re­spond to the bril­liant def­i­ni­tion given by Chris Marker “the polite­ness of despair” and always trans­lates a second degree.

His paint­ings are exhib­ited on the inter­na­tional scene and are kept in pri­vate and public col­lec­tions (Syrian National Museum in Damascus, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Museum of the Institute of the Arab World in Paris, National Museum of Immigration History in Paris.). (Thierry Savatier)

Joujoux, Hiboux, Cailloux was pro­duced in 2007. Khaled Takreti has just moved to Paris, after fol­lowing his partner. Nine months of iso­la­tion and con­fine­ment in their apart­ment fol­lowed. Khaled Takreti needs time; he enters into a cre­ative intro­spec­tion from which will be born nine can­vases, pro­duced during these nine months cut off from the world. The same face is repro­duced tire­lessly, that of his com­panion who becomes a child, mother, father, friend. This cre­ative con­fine­ment will give rise to a final mon­u­mental and mas­terful canvas, a real con­densed ver­sion of this inner quest. Joujoux, Hiboux, Cailloux thus stages the same face, that of the loved one, the only one that Khaled sees and redis­covers day after day for nine months.

These col­orful, pic­turesque and some­times zany char­ac­ters cannot hide the great melan­choly that emanates from the looks and pos­tures. The linear com­po­si­tion and the frontal dis­covery of the faces par­ti­tion, enclose almost each char­acter in his indi­vid­u­ality. The meeting, the exchange between the pro­tag­o­nists is impos­sible, an alle­gory of both the close­ness of life together and the dis­tance, the lone­li­ness of modern life that domes­ticity alone cannot solve. “The impas­sive faces don’t reveal any­thing about the traumas or what holds the rela­tion­ships of all these char­ac­ters together. The pre­tense of the clothes, made from col­lages, and the oblit­er­a­tion of the sil­hou­ettes, cov­ered with a uni­form color, break with any search for veracity and con­tribute to a cer­tain form of visual indif­fer­ence.” (Khaled Takreti)

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