Mustafa Sabbagh. “XI Commandment: You shall not forget”

mustafa sabbagh hebe vs hebe 2017 LR Mustafa Sabbagh. XI Commandment: You shall not forget
Saturday, October 14, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

piazza Guido da Montefeltro, Forlì Italy 47121

«A schizophrenic does not forget. A schizophrenic accumulates». The core behind Mustafa Sabbagh’s anthological travelling exhibition “XI Commandment: You shall not forget” takes shape from reflecting on his own confessions as a man, and his longing as an artist. The exhibition’s baptism took place in Palermo, earning Sabbagh the honorary citizenship of the capital of Sicily. Upon invitation of the Cultural Department of Forlì’s City Council, and with the valuable support of the Fondazione Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì, for its second destination the exhibit will be shown at the San Domenico Museum Complex and the annexed Church of San Giacomo. Opening on October 14th 2017, it will run until January 14th 2018. As satellites of the exhibition, two site-specific interventions of the artist will begin starting on October 21st 2017 at the Dino Zoli Foundation and the Marcolini Gallery in Forlì.

“XI Commandment”, secular warning sanctifying art, is the “collective exhibition of a single artist”, in Sabbagh’s own words. Memory as a categorical imperative, schizophrenia as its only way. History of art, and history of the artist. Bearer of social needs manifested through the wisdom of an artistic act – declined in a variety of expressive media among which, for the first time, a not yet released pictorial series, the obligation which Mustafa Sabbagh most loyally abides by is the celebration of man, of his skin as an urn, of his dissociation as an urgency to shun conformity – seen in each stage of his anthological project, as well as in every single artwork on display. XI Commandment as a Pandora’s box whose opening leads to catharsis. Suspension of the Tragic Action, while everything around keeps on burning.
The new exhibition, besides showcasing the essential core of Mustafa Sabbagh’s most iconic artworks, will consist of two specific itineraries inside the Museum complex along with an exhibition triangulation throughout a City prone to working collaboratively in order to promote Art and Culture. The first exhibition itinerary will occupy the whole Church of San Giacomo: in addition to the photographic series that made Sabbagh world-renowned — such as “About Skin” (2010), “Memorie Liquide” (2012) and “Onore al Nero” (2014 – cont.), as well as the video installation “anthro-pop-gonia” (2015) and the two multimedia works “Das Unheimliche” (2016) and “Dark Room” (2016) — an environmental installation will also be showing – an imposing site-specific setting that changes depending on the exhibition space. In Palermo, Sabbagh chose to install two huge in-ground water features filled with sea water lapping the shores of the city, the first contaminated with black water (alchemical phase of the nigredo) and the other with white water (alchemical final phase of the albedo). For the city of Forlì the artist, with the prestigious collaboration of Antonio Ravalli, has designed two new mighty structures: one made of black wood, treated according to the ancient art of Shou-sugi-ban, that will serve as a support for his photographic work; the other made of coking coal enclosing a new pictorial series, novel declination for the “Onore al Nero” series through the medium of painting. «Man, be my metaphor»: an environmental installation as a metaphor of the role of art and culture, much longed for contemporary Phoenix.

The second project continues the exhibition itinerary inside the San Domenico Museum, sharing the same space with Elliot Erwitt’s retrospective show. On the occasion of the celebrations for the bicentenary of the creation of Canova’s Hebe (1816-1817), the City of Forlì, by renewing its collaboration with the Fondazione Canova Onlus – Museo Gipsoteca Antonio Canova, asked Sabbagh to infuse contemporary meanings for the famous statue, acme of Neoclassicism and artistic symbol of the City, here preserved and exposed. For the path leading to the viewing of Canova’s masterpiece, Sabbagh takes over both the suspended hall and the hall in front of the one where the Hebe statue is placed, to put on display a not yet released series of photographic works, showing, through his sophisticated artistic features, the original plaster casts of Canova’s statues, some of which severely damaged by bombing during World War I. These “Wounds” (this is title of the new artistic project), just like the ancient oriental art of Kintsugi, highlight one of the main themes of Sabbagh’s work: the wound as an hymn to uniqueness, proper to every human being. Schizoid flashes of his past photographic production, in an ideal continuum with the florilegium showing at the San Giacomo, a video-mapping artwork screened on one of the original Canova’s plaster busts and the new photographic artwork dedicated to the Hebe statue, thanks to the support of the Dino Zoli Foundation, will close the anthological exhibition at the Museum.
The artistic path will be extended off the museum premises, in a City that shows its commitment in promoting contemporary art, at the Dino Zoli Foundation and inside the Marcolini Gallery starting from October 21st. The Foundation will host Sabbagh’s renowned photographic series “Made in Italy© – Handle with Care” (2015, already belonging to the permanent contemporary art collection of MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts, in Rome). This exhibit will highlight Sabbagh’s personal reflection over the urgency of welcoming, starting from one’s own unique, highly symbolic, peculiarities. The space of the Marcolini Gallery will house the video-installation “Chat Room” (2014), love letter between two contemporary Christ and Judas, children of our times, longing for resurrection.

The human and artistic strength of “XI Commandment: You shall not forget” lies in its capacity to trigger multiple philological links – one for each visitor and for every exhibition itinerary – between video and photography, sound and silence, water and fire, the blackness of a consumed life and the whiteness of an offended marble. It is by the repetition of a black body, a black sea, a burning cigarette, a genderless Vesperbild or a life lived on the borders that Mustafa Sabbagh chooses to confess, in order not to forget, the seriality of a crime through its recognizable, sophisticated, heinous beauty.

MUSTAFA SABBAGH anthological exhibition
San Domenico Museum – Piazza Guido da Montefeltro, Forlì
from October 14th, 2017 to January 14th, 2018
opening: Saturday, October 14th, h. 6:00 pm

visiting hours
from tuesday to friday,9.30 am to 6.30 pm
saturday and sunday, 10.00 am to 7.00 pm
closed on mondays

entrance fee included in the Civic Museums network [Musei San Domenico e Palazzo Romagnoli] ticket
adult euro 5,00 | reduced euro 3,00
combined ticket [Civic Museum network + “Elliott Erwitt. Personae” anthological exhibition] adult euro 14,00 | reduced Euro 11,00

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Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì Foundation
AMACI – Associazione dei Musei d’Arte Contemporanea Italiani
Antonio Canova onlus and Museo Canoviano Foundation [TV] Dino Zoli Foundation [FO] Marcolini Gallery [FO] Antonio Ravalli Architects [FE] Claudio Cervelli Lighting Design [VI] Aspirine Development & Design [FE] Altedo Typography [BO]

« A schizophrenic does not forget.
A schizophrenic accumulates. » MS

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