“Abdelke`s fish is not a fish: it is an arrow, a beam, a breath, a whispered call of life. Yet it is also a fish. But it flies like a bird in the night in which we find ourselves once again immersed. In a large charcoal drawing on canvas, he stares at us, as if the image of death was more alive for Abdelké than that of life.” Alain Jouffroy
Youssef Abdelké’s highly acclaimed work is renowned for its sinister undertones and unique symbolism which expose the brutalities of life. The Syrian painter breaks with tradition through his unique approach to still life drawing. Trivial items such as a flower, a fish or a shoe are the focal point of Abdelké’s works.
“In order for a bone fragment, a dish or an empty sardine to do what a king and his horse or a woman and her possessions usually did, the artist is required to exert exceptional efforts and to display great skills,” art critic Emil Manaem writes in his introduction to Abdelké’s book. “In his drawings, Abdelké allows simple things in life to impose their sovereignty over spaces, pushing them from the very beginning from the realm of realism to the realm of symbolism.”
Youssef Abdelké was born in Qameshli (Syria) in 1951. He studied at the Faculty of Arts in Damascus and at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
After more than 25 years of compelled exile and of being forbidden to go back to Syria, it was finally possible for him to go to Damascus in 2005 and to organise a large exhibition there.
Youssef Abdelke’s works are part of a large number of museums and institutions, including The British Museum in London and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.
Taking place at
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Tue–Fri 11 am – 6 pm
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Open Art 2020:
Friday, september 11 6–9 pm
Saturday, september 12 11 am–6 pm
Sunday, september 13 11 am–6 pm