Abdallah Kassem at Galerie Tanit in Beirut.
IranArt : On display until December 29th, 2023, is “The Red Sea,” the solo exhibition of Lebanese contemporary visual artist Abdallah Kassem. Born in Ivory Coast in 1985, Kassem is a dentist who only began his art practice in 2017 after enrolling at the Lebanese University of Fine Arts.
There, he was granted the opportunity to perfect his art skills, explore new mediums, and work under the guidance of esteemed mentors such as Lebanese-American artist Ara Azad.
When the Covid pandemic hit in 2019, Kassem began to experiment with thermal cameras. By combining his technical knowledge of science with his love for art, this new medium enabled him to explore “the intimacy of temperature and the thermal prints created” between the “human body and materials.”
In exploring Kassem’s latest solo exhibition, these artistic and intellectual themes come to life. His use of colors and texture evokes a clear understanding of the physical and emotional effects that displays of light and warmth can have on human perception.
In his exhibition text, Kassem explains that, in April 2023, he “woke up on the shores of the Red Sea to a golden sun.” He describes the scene, stating, “Hazy blue mountains slowly appeared as if rising from the water, a still capsule of time traveling through the warmth of the visible light spectrum, of which I fell asleep beneath the shadowed mountains of the sunset.”
Through the artworks displayed in his solo exhibition, Kassem takes us on this intimate journey with him. He uses light, texture, and colors to physically and emotionally transport viewers to the desert oasis that he describes, where, for a brief moment, perceptions of time become distorted, and reality can stand still.