Khaled Ben Slimane
1st – 3rd May 2010
Khaled Ben Slimane
For Elmarsa gallery, Khaled Ben Slimane shows unpublished works revolving around three major themes: space, materiality and spirituality. A journey exploring the human relations to the world, time and space. An inspiring oeuvre amid calligraphy, architecture and verticality. Internationally acclaimed as a painter, ceramist and sculptor, Khaled Ben Slimane was born in 1951 in Sousse, Tunisia. On the 1st May 2010, Elmarsa gallery opens its new exhibition space that will host at the occasion one of the major contemporary artists in Tunisia and in the Arab world whose creations have been exhibited around the world. Between Invocation and Ascension, the show focuses on recent works and also on a selection of earlier works, some dating back to the 1980s. The exhibition explores his compelling artistic achievement, surveying a part of his career for more than 30 years of multiple discoveries, various trips, exclusive encounters, in an incessant quest for spirituality.
From all of his adventures, he says: “as a ceramist, I realized that seven places have brought me to this art and have initiated me. It's like being born seven times.” The art of Khaled Ben Slimane is one of an alchemist." A synthesis of East and West, his work has been inspired by the Arab-Muslim heritage and the ancestral know-how in pottery. He manipulates the media, space and spirituality across a wide array of mediums including ceramics, sculpture, painting. He plays with graphics and his favorite colors ochre, blue and gold. Like the masters he once met or worked with such as Miro and Tapies or Yu Fujiwara and Arakawa Toyozo, two Japanese "living national treasures", he explores time, the universe, the infinite space in reutilizing the traditional ways and materials such as canvas, bronze, wood, paper... In quest of the perfect and fragile balance, the gesture – intense, uncluttered and accurate - punctuates the artist’s inner rhythm. Reaching for transcendence, the scripture including ascending signs, infinitely repeated invocations of Allah and Huwa, graffiti in various forms bring rhythm to the work of art in the manner of incantations and Sufi hymn. Combining materiality and spirituality in a very contemporary form, he transforms the physiognomy of traditional and plain objects into undetermined shapes. Released from the past and from any ambition, his oeuvre has undeniably a dominant sense of eternity.