Omar Bey

  • Biography

    Born 1973, lives and works in Tunis.

    Since graduating from L’Institut Supérieur des Beaux-art in Tunis in 1998, Omar Bey’s practice has spanned decades, mediums and themes. Examples of painting, mixed media assemblage, and collage can all be found among his diverse works. Through innovative use and combinations of components such as ceramic mosaic with reinforced concrete, scrap metal, enamel, and fabric, Bey has developed a unique command of diverse materials that enable him to evoke surprise, humor, and contemplation in the viewer. Bey’s range of mediums and materials reflects his international background. Although his father was Tunisian and his mother was British, Bey lived for many years in Paris, and enjoyed success exhibiting there both before and after his return to Tunis.

    Bey’s themes center on the paradoxical excess of modern human existence; its problems, effects, and even its strangeness. The content of each work explores an absurdity that is frequently echoed by its construction in materials that seem to contradict one another. Bey’s interest in creating incompatibility has lead him to describe himself as a “contrastivist;” birds that should fly free are bound by wire, a rhinoceros that leans out of a car window doubles as a racing decal, and fish trapped in a net resemble a distant star, burning millions of miles away and oblivious to the plight of the creatures that wonder at it. These inconsistencies not only expose the bizarreness of the human condition, but also create a measure of doubt in the everyday reality of being that too often remains unremarked upon. With themes that explore capitalism and terrorism, Bey’s more recent works reflect a more direct political engagement and remark on contemporary tensions influenced by his own experiences, but that are also transmutable to broader understanding. Bey’s oeuvre exposes gaps in our collective complacence through which seeps the inescapable reality that daily operations on our tiny planet remain simultaneously noticeably irrelevant and undeniably important.


    1998 Graduated from the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-artsof Tunis

    EXHIBITIONS (Selection)

    2016 “Yesterday is tomorrow’s memory: a group show of work from North Africa”, Elmarsa Gallery, Dubai

    2016 “Effervescence’’ (Group Exhibition), Institute of Islamic Cultures, Paris, France

    2016 Art Dubai 2016, Dubai

    2015 Art Dubai 2015, Dubai

    2014 Art Dubai 2014, Dubai

    2014 Abu Dhabi Art 2014, Abu Dhabi

    2013 “Sans Titre”, Group show, Elmarsa Gallery, Tunis

    2013 Abu Dhabi Art 2013, Abu Dhabi

    2013 “Enfermé dehors” (Solo Exhibition) Mille Feuilles Gallery, Tunis

    2012 Solo Exhibition at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris

    2012 Galerie Sponte, Musée du Montparnasse, Paris

    2011 “Cut log” (FIAC off’), Paris

    2011 “Le poids du faire” (Solo Exhibition), Kanvas Art Gallery, Tunis

    2008-11 Le Printemps des Arts de la Marsa, Tunis

    2008-11 Galerie Air libre El Teatro, Tunis

    2008-11 Kanvas Art Gallery, Tunis

    2008-11 Galerie Ammar Farhat, Tunis

    2008 “Perception de la ville” Barcelone

    2007 “Temps de rouille” solo show, Mille Feuilles Gallery, Tunis

    2002 “Au Frigo” (Solo Exhibition) Paris, France

    2001 “Corpus” (Solo Exhibiton) Galerie du Palais Royal, Paris


    2011-12 Cité Internationale des Arts