22 Feb 2024 - 09 Mar 2024

Uprising Sceneries + Works On Paper

Mark Hachem Gallery


Sceneries from the uprising’s dance: The perfect ecstasy 
By Akl Awit 

Do colors and forms burst? Do they match the wit of a dice hit, the skillfulness of a hand’s tension, the unconsciousness of a brush, or the rebelling Sufi rhythm running amok? Do they become a painting that nods and winks at a crowd, at people and at an uprising for freedom? 

Chaouki Chamoun’s solo exhibition at Mark Hachem Gallery will start on the 22nd of February and end on March 9, 2024; the collection includes 42 pieces of acrylic on paper and a mural (20m × 60cm). It is undeniable that this exhibition captures the eyes of the beholder, all of his senses, his savoring interpretations to the stage where imagination is performing its dance. Moreover, it unleashes me, the recipient and the witness, to a dialogue on an artistic tone with a freedom of expression that parallels, if not surpasses, the freedom of those who took the streets articulating a wild yearning to a time and a place that put Lebanon, its young generations and its living forces on the road leading to the land of creation, love, emancipation and freedom. 

These colors and forms bloom, grow and proliferate. They go a long way in crushing the predictable and the common, whilst reaching the climax of their formal absurdity. But then again, and here lies their secret, these colors and forms, owing to their excessive surrealism and abstraction, strongly hold to the reins of technical construction and its guidelines, subjugating these reins in a manner that transforms them into what is most similar to magic realism in a novel. 

Here, on the surfaces of these paintings, I see the crowds, just as I see the noble human sentiments, the dreams that refuse to be tamed and the desires at their wildest. I similarly see the bodies touching, fraternizing and harmonizing, in their embraces, shouts and unrestrained and inhibited movements, as if they were an orchestral moment we are listening to with all our senses, minds and hearts. I would even say we listen through the language of sound, a sound that feels as if it were about to pop out of the profundity of colors and forms, calling us to join the celebration of freedom. 

What’s more, is that the recipient, whilst engaging in this visual state, is capable of creating a resemblance between the picturesque of the painting’s surface and a kind of flying in the Supreme Cosmos amongst the meteorites, stars, spheres and planets. This massive endless optical fragmentation is far from being forged or fake. It is with one brush stroke that a “burst” occurs, sacred by its colorfulness that steals one from the miserable state of planet earth to a counter state. Here I am, finding myself almost saying, from too much luminosity 

created by this counter state, that it’s a Sufi drunkenness in the midst of colors, forms, lines and rhythms that create a harmonious texture consisting of a multitude of vital and positive “contrasts”, with no discord nor dissonance, not even a bit, probably due to the fact that it’s a swift, instantaneous, uncaptured, surrealist, spontaneous and not conscious improvisation driven by the subliminal mind behind any cognitive awareness abilities. 

He who thinks that artistic improvisation is an easy task to be performed by any artist and by those who undervalue “explosive seduction”, thinks wrong. It is a “seduction” indeed, but it contains as many complications, fermentations and imperceptible skills as it is spontaneous, and by no means any parasitical can attain it. It would seem that it is a deceptive cunning “seduction”, but from the inside, only a connoisseur is capable of wandering freely in its hidden perceptions. It is a “seduction” which elements bear their own death, annihilation and evanescence if the sailor in its cosmos isn’t skilled, in his unconsciousness, in controlling its contents and orchestral logic. 

This is exactly what makes Chaouki Chamoun’s “risks” worthy of all this acclamation. 

This exhibition is indeed a visual theatrical and artistic celebration. It offers the recipient spectator the capacity to challenge through art the fatal reality. 

Together with this celebration, there must be a coronation which is manifested in the dance of all dances, where the body of form and color ascends, to the pinnacle of expression and to perfect ecstasy. 

Assuming that ecstasy is a human condition that can be attained only after one is free from the restrictions of reality and enforced oppression, the ecstasy we witness here is ecstasy of color and form and departure from the constraints of limits to the unlimited. 

The way I see it, this is exactly what these paintings, or let me say these sceneries, aim to do, to convert the act of uprising into an eternal moment in art.

Press release from Mark Hachem Gallery

Image: Chaouki Chamoun. Uprising Scene XXIV. 2022. Mixed media on kodak paper. 53.5 x 53.5 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Mark Hachem Gallery