Risen from the dead, could sound like a shouted and unreasonably effective title, if it wasn’t the first personal exhibition by the Italian-Jordanian artist Mustafa Sabbagh, branded Traffic Gallery.

Risen from the dead is about death between past and present, about life fragments trapped in specific moments and - like the entire artist’s production - it automatically establishes dialogues in time. Explicit dialogues and allusions to dialogues with the famous painters and sculptors of the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th century. Sabbagh travels and works in all the world biggest capital cities; geographically speaking, he travels without breaks also in time, evoking in us the entire visual education present in the multiple collective imaginations of the different cultures across the world.

Dario da Pordenone, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Lorenzo Lotto, Giovanni Battista Moroni, Giuseppe Sanmartino and many more, sometimes appear very clearly, other times more vaguely, in Sabbagh’s photographic creations where man, subject and object, is covered and protected from head to feet by everyday black fetish items, or left almost completely naked and defenceless at the mercy of his fate of physical and interior suffering. The photographic work of Risen from the dead aims at black in particular, as a classically sensual metaphor and at white as a clarifying and cathartic insight. A controversial, shining, alluring black, hiding the bodies of the depicted man; creating an overlying and stratified composition that modifies human figures and profiles without substance alterations.

An embracing white, able to remark the border between what miserably perishes under the fleeting force of time and what revives forever in the eyes of the viewer after being blocked by the timeless snapshot. Resurrecting is like living in an infinite condition of love for life, love for neighbour and love for the inanimate beauty of things. Just like real rational reasons for the act of loving do not exist, it would be useless to try and fully understand the multiple variables involving the technical and artistic competencies of an artist and his creations. Eleven photographs, six unpublished works, a video on screen and an installation of video-mapping. It is useless to penetrate the comparisons between contemporary representation and historical reference; the river of words and images arising from them are powerless in front of the beauty of art that dazzles us, provokes us, shocks us, seduces us, hurts us.

As Sabbagh himself declares “First of all beauty hurts”.

Text by Roberto Ratti

Traffic Gallery
Via S. Tomaso, 92
Bergamo 24121 Italy
Ph. +39 035 0602882
Mob. +39 338 4035761

Opening hours
Daily from 1.00pm to 9.30pm

Related images

  1. Sabbagh 007, 125 x 100, 2014
  2. Sabbagh 002, 40 x 50, 2014
  3. Sabbagh 008, 160 x 125, 2014
  4. Sabbagh 005, 40 x 50, 2014
  5. Sabbagh 003, 40 x 50, 2014
  6. Sabbagh 004, 40 x 50, 2014