- 02 SEPTEMBER — 23 SEPTEMBER 2021
Opening 03 September 6-9pm
While a photographer would view the photographic print as an endpoint, Kassab sees it as a starting place. Images and photographs are blank canvases in need of materiality. Maria Kassab is a Lebanese Canadian multidisciplinary artist, she experiments with image manipulation, photography and video works to create narratives as forms of resistance to the current cultural, social, and political environment in Lebanon and the MENA region. Whatever additions, removals, and or edits an image needs to realize a demonstration, Maria restores it.
Her work has been focusing on the irreconcilable relationship with home (Lebanon) and the violent displacement people have been going through. Having arrived in Berlin amid recent conflictual events was very challenging. This allowed her work to navigate between the political and social confrontations while trying to materialize them through her artistic practice.
“Following these incidents with the relocation to Berlin one could not but feel threatened by displacement especially due to restrictions and obstacles at the border control in Beirut during the pandemic and the political downfall. The cross-over was somehow traumatic on a mental and physical level. Having left Beirut during unsettling times felt like a deracination, becoming almost a hostage and then a fugitive due to border complications, and this reminded me of the cross over during the civil war from East to West Beirut in the 90’s. Then the explosion happened, on August 4th 2020, images of implosions and explosions surfaced from past memories”
The navigation between both cities Beirut and Berlin has been very inspiring. Knowing that both cities have struggled politically especially Lebanon lately, it kind of creates a seismic outcome of possibilities where one focuses on self-exploration by combining both spheres together.
Berlin, being this vibrant city waiting to be rediscovered over and over again, has also been a base structure and inspiration for her recent work. Remembering the artistic renaissance that emerged in the 80’s and 90’s with the feminist and queer artistic practices varying from different angles. From performances to photography this era
shaped a generation of women engaging with topics ranging from political, social, and cultural themes resisting oppression, racism, and patriarchy. In today’s contemporary scene, women are still being challenged with similar frictions while investigating these experiences through their practices by resisting and demonstrating against all forms of political, social and cultural borders.
Berlin has been one of the cities where artists find refuge against these defying social structural practices. A city that has been mapping and testifying the works of different artists from different backgrounds.
By exploring Claudia Skoda’s work, who was a revolutionary in the fashion world, focusing on knitwear, where she created unconventional designs and was also a key figure of the West Berlin underground scene in the 70’s and 80’s.
Kassab will explore self-portraiture and the use of wool fabric as an installation on her body. The intervention of the fabric on the subject’s body will symbolize the complex relationship with both territories as composite extensions recalling the irreconcilable relationship to identity and memories. The fabric will also revoke the slowness of these complexities that will vary from attachment to dissolution, within the threads of belonging, heritage, and trauma. A weaving of recollections of those memories stating personal struggles, in the case of social and/or political conflict, and the relationship to that particular environment.
Skoda was known for being the queen of texture. In her work she explores different materials, her shows are mostly like spectacles using music, installations, and performances, allowing her work to transcend and defeat fashion tradition.
Maria Kassab studied Communications and Fine Arts at the Lebanese American University. She worked as a freelance art director and during her free time she experimented with photography and video until it became her main artistic focus. Her current themes deal with political, social and cultural issues. Her work has been exhibited internationally most notably in Beirut, Paris, Washington, Copenhagen, Palermo and Berlin. She is currently completing her MA Photography in Berlin at the University of Applied Sciences Europe (BTK).