Sunday, March 3, 2013

tammam azzam & "the kiss."

gustav klimt's "the kiss" is so beautiful. it has that wonderfully shimmering effect that's so evocative of the early modern period & much of klimt's work itself, yet it still somehow has a wise, lush, i guess vintage taste to it. not only is it one of the most popular works by the austrian painter, it's arguably one of the most popular, if not most widely recognized, works of art in the world.

photo from here.

something really awesome happened lately with this painting, something that brought it to the forefront of the international dialogue about the syrian uprising that's been going on for just about two years now. artist tammam azzam photoshopped "the kiss" onto a bullet- & bomb-riddled wall in his home country of syria. the piece is titled freedom graffiti.

photo from here.

simply amazing. the juxtaposition of these two worlds is so striking: one on hand, you have the gilded gravitas of an image created by an austrian in the early 20th century. on the other, a harsh, modern landscape in a country completely swallowed up in a civil war that has already killed 60,000 people. such intimate love and beauty in the face of such destruction. isn't it powerful?

about his work, azzam said "i want to discuss how the whole world could be interested in art and on the other hand two hundred people are killed every day in syria. goya created a work to immortalize [the] killing of hundreds of innocent spanish citizens on may 3, 1808. syria is living the third of may every day and no one stops it."

i also really, really love what the guardian writer jonathan jones said about freedom graffiti (plus it's lines like these that make me happy & sad at the same time: happy because of the brilliance of the words & how well it is written, sad because i realize i'll probably never be able to write a line as well-written and euphonious as this in my entire life): "the painting whose golden ghost he has made to materialize on a ruinous facade is a passionate plea for universal love." 

freedom graffiti is part of a larger series by azzam entitled "syrian museum" combining western artwork with other scenes from the war zone that is contemporary syria. below are a few other stunning works in this series as found here:

read another article about it all here, as well.

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