Equinox, From Beirut to London
Tuesday to Saturday, 11am – 6pm, FREE
Equinox, From Beirut to London is the first UK solo exhibition by Syrian artist Lawand. The exhibition features new paintings and drawings by the artist, made recently during a prolonged stay in Beirut, Lebanon.
Lawand’s paintings and drawings are dominated by elongated effigies with faceless heads, hanging or hiding in their hands. They float in formless backgrounds thick with paint, situated in the material and yet strangely placeless. The artist often hints at their movement, but denies them real motion, wrapping his figures in a private world within the painted surface. Most appear alone or with a child, each treated with a looseness of touch and depth of form that invests them with intimacy; in both large and small scale these untitled works are hauntingly emotive.
The artist states that his work is “engaged but non-political”, and the themes he covers are universal rather than rooted to a single cause. Though Lawand reflects on the current situation in Syria, his work is more generally concerned with notions of ongoing suffering and the portrayal of humanity in the depths of its vulnerability. Crucially, however, the artist describes his work as essentially optimistic and life-affirming, asserting:
“I am not a painter of loneliness, even though my paintings are so little populated. I see in each and every one of my characters the entire human race. My characters often seem to be moving slowly and sluggishly but they are headed towards the endless path of light…so that my paintings express a desire to live!” (Lawand, 2013).
Lawand’s practice is also heavily influenced by poetry, and he has created a number of publications in collaboration with renowned poets. For this exhibition he has worked on a special edition with the award-winning poet Pascale Petit. Entitled Effigies, the publication features new drawings by the artist, with a series of poetic responses by Petit. Buy ‘Effigies’ here.
Born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1984, Lawand came to France with his family when he was ten. He lives and works predominantly in Lille, France.
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm, Entrance Free
This exhibition is part of the Nour Festival of Arts
Follow the exhibition on twitter #equinox.