Re-constructing Dasein: The Works of Steve Sabella | IMEU
Following Steve Sabella’s path through his projects In Exile (2008), In Transition (2010), Euphoria (2010) , Beyond Euphoria (2011), Metamorphosis (2012) and finally Independence (2013), the onlooker has access to a unique view of the psychological struggles the artist faced in his condition of up-rootedness. In each series except Independence, Sabella used a particular collage technique, piecing together fragmented photographic images taken from multiple perspectives. Sabella has likened this meticulous process, the careful re-arranging and twisting of forms, to painting rather than any classical use of photography. In many of these collages it is difficult to discern any clear directions; there seems to be no clear up or down. When drawn into these images, one finds oneself caught in a dizzying, free-floating condition, disturbing at first, but maybe also offering the promise of endless freedom, to be found somewhere, sometime.
The more euphoric the artist became, the more he aimed for a dissolution of forms. The titles serve almost as a closing remark to an ongoing process of arranging forms and elements— sometimes with a repetitive layout of similar forms and visual elements, and at other times using distortion and fragmentation of color and shapes. The artist points out that his method of making photocollages is more like painting than documenting a state of being or photographing a particular moment.
Beyond Euphoria relishes in a freedom never seen before in Sabella’s oeuvre, a freedom where possibilities are limitless and new fictional spaces beckon to be explored.
…Now based in Berlin and London, his new photographs and photomontages, currently on show in his exhibition Euphoria and Beyond at the Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai, offer a more joyful, vigorous viewpoint – challenging by pure coincidence the region’s new energy engendered by what has become as the Arab Spring.
In the work cycle Beyond Euphoria, things are placed on the horizontally oriented plane or imbued with rhythm by being thrown and enduring a fall that gives them a chiseled appearance. They overlay and touch one another, unfolding a different dynamic of gliding and hovering… No detail may be seen as constituting a whole; as a fragment, it is to be conceived as part of a totality that is unattained and therefore in a constant process of movement and structural innovation.
Beyond Euphoria (2011) is likewise a series of splintered assemblages, its three dimensional source material flattened, distorted, and restructured in two dimensions. All of these intended ‘dissolutions of forms’ challenge photographic veracity, their abstract compositions far removed from any perceived mirror of memory.
It is in this sense that Palestinian visual art, and other forms of art, have been critically important, politically as well as aesthetically. It becomes incumbent to wrench language, whether poetic or visual, from the hegemony of a tired language about Palestine.