Words and Signs, Meanings and Symbols, in the Works of Fathi Hassan
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Born in Egypt in 1957, Fathi Hassan left his homeland at the age of twenty-two to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli, making Italy his second home. Today, he lives and works in Scotland. This experience with migration pushed him to centre his artistic work on the exploration of language as a key to identity. Letters, words, entire phrases are repeated to create a compelling text which is, at the same time, illeggibile; geometric forms and figurative elements make up a language which seems like an ancient alphabet. Writing becomes signs and signs become writing, creating a shift in the senses that pushes one beyond literal meanings. In this anthropological exhibition, the first for Hassan at the Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, there are over one-hundred works on display from throughout his forty-year career, from the ‘80s to today. The reflection on memory, on loss, on the relationship with his roots, accompanies the whole of his artistic journey. From his first works, where references to his origins are clear with the use of elements taken from the landscape of his childhood, up to more recent works, such as Head, where a line traces the profile of a head but without creating a division between inside and outside. One section of the exhibition, entitled Remembering Haring, is an homage to the deceased artist, who Hassan met in Naples in 1983.