I was born in 1969, in a field of sculptures.

Shapes were jutting from the ground like ever-growing trees.

I can still see myself climbing those stone fortresses, those modern towers carved by my father’s hands; hiding behind those figures, playing with cousins and friends. That was my playground… and I cherished it.

My childhood was mostly about drawing and games. My toys helped me create a wonderful, yet imaginary world. There were paper planes and boats, wooden construction games, and a magnetic board with geometrical shapes: squares, triangles, lozenges, punched discs, bars, arcs and balls, all in silver metal. As time passed by, my shapes were rusting bit by bit, but I liked them still… I was actually fascinated by them coming suddenly to life; rising up on their magnetic board; sticking to one another; giving birth to thousands of visual combinations.

Between the small shapes of my childhood games and the geometry of my sculptures; between those pieces stuck to one another by the force of magnetism and the welded pieces of my gigantic sculptures… half my life had gone by.

My childhood was a happy one. I was surrounded by a sculptor father, a poet mother and scores of cousins in Rachana, a mythical village spared by a devastating nationwide war.

My adolescence on the other hand was difficult, marked by a painful separation, a death… that of a great man, an idol, a father.

For a year, I studied architecture at Alba, before hastily flying to Paris, in 1989.  I spent the next three years studying art at “Ensaama”… I remember my frequent visits to exhibitions and museums, which allowed me to make valuable artistic discoveries at the time.

But then… Then I returned to Rachana… I went back to the stone; to the wood; to the bronze and the iron. I went back to meet a woman, one who became mine. I met the mother of my children, my two beloved angels.

It was the big come back… I had returned to happiness, to childhood, to the games I left behind and the metal I had put aside; but mostly, I returned to creation.

From an adult playing childish games to a child turning his games into a profession… I’ve always favored my magnetic board over regular modeling clay; and today, I prefer building my sculptures rather than carving them. By building them, I grant my viewers the liberty to imagine my art on the move, with articulations, internal forms to discover, and combinations of simple yet constantly changing shapes. One might actually discover several sculptures in the same work of art.

I like to start from a simple shape; a square, a rectangle, a disc or a lens. I then cut it to pieces before reconstructing and energizing it by welding its parts in a way that gives it rhythm. I give my shapes movement… I give them meaning… I endow them with a soul. I rarely add new pieces because I’d rather work with that of the initial shape, leaving to the viewer the fun of reconstituting it mentally.

Some sculptures even were born from the accumulation of the same simple geometrical form, thus enriching the piece by adding layers of complexity.

The first time I ever put my rusted sculptures in my father Michel’s garden, where his stone sculptures laid, I was taken aback by the stone-iron harmony; this dialogue between matter and color.

I am fascinated by the natural rusty iron lending even more life to the volumes, as it animates the latter’s skin.

In addition to iron sculptures, my art includes other sculpture species like copper and stainless steel, resulting in very polished surfaces that reflect their surroundings, deflecting on their angles and facets the rays of the sun. To me, sculptures maintain an intimate relationship with sunlight. When the sun throws its rays towards my sculptures, they get reflected on the pieces’ angles, hugging their edges, or piercing their hollows. This dynamic interaction is what gives birth to their vibrancy and their shimmering.

My forms pierce space like big astral machines caught in a perpetual dialogue with the sun. Using a play of shadows, the eternal star creates their movements, becoming their ultimate source of energy. The generated light and energy are vital, for they are utilized, transformed, absorbed and reflected… Vital as well for us humans who pollute, destroy, and interfere with the balance of the earth-sun duo.

The disc and lens shapes, broken down and reconstituted in this exhibition, are my “shattered suns”.

I have waited a long time before deciding to expose myself, to exhibit my sculptures, some thirty two years since my first attempt at my father’s studio.

The present exhibit is the product of a chance encounter between a sculptor and a Place, and then with a great Lady; Randa, Thank you.

 

Anachar Basbous

 

Rachana, 5 May 2012

Artists in this Exhibition

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