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Walls and Margins | Nat Muller | Barjeel Art Foundation


Steve Sabella’s series of photographic collages Metamorphosis (2012). The work featured in the exhibition shows segments of the Separation Wall multiplied in a dizzying motif. There is no top or bottom here, no sky or ground, the wall is reduced to pure pattern that confuses our way of looking. The artist describes the project as a “conflict between form and function, between visualisation and perception7,” in which, if he manages to transform part of the wall into pure form, then he will somehow have defeated what it represents. It becomes “part of [his] building blocks. It will be muted8.” The frenetic and tumultuous pattern appears to have no beginning and no end and resonates with Sabella’s own biography of being uprooted and living in exile. And yet, though the pattern appears hermetic, it is frayed at the edges and hints at a transitional pro-cess. History has taught us that if walls can be put up, they can also be knocked down. Sabella strikes a cautious note of hope in an otherwise bleak reality. Though many of the works in the exhibition Walls and Margins are far from optimistic, the possibility of change, no matter how modest, is palpable. 


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