Guez’s exhibition with carlier | gebauer presents works from the first part of the artist’s ongoing project 'The Sick Man of Europe' a five-part project that examines the military history of the Middle East through the lens of the lives and creative practices of individual soldiers. The first chapter of this project, entitled 'The Painter', was recently presented at ICA London and Villa StuckMuseum in Munich. Through films, archival source materials, photographs, and scanograms, 'The Painter' tells the story of D. Guez, a Jewish Tunisian painter-turned-soldier who immigrated to Israel, and was conscripted into the army in 1973 to fight in the Yom Kippur War.
In his exhibition with carlier | gebauer, Guez will present a series of “scanograms” that relate to thirteen paintings made by D.Guez during the war. Guez utilizes the scanner as a form of camera. Each scanogram is made by layers of scanning, with each layer programmed to mirror a different aspect of the original painting: their surface textures, tears and creases, and evidence of handling. Guez then composes the layers into one image. This technique of multiscanning stresses the history of the material at hand; the prominent rips and tears border on abstraction and seem to almost take on a three-dimensional form.
Commonly attributed to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia in reference to the crumbling Ottoman Empire, the phrase “The Sick Man of Europe” has subsequently been used by theorists and pundits alike from the 19th century to the present to characterize the chronically unstable areas formerly under the purview of the Sultan’s domain. Guez appropriates this proverbial “Sick Man” by literally reconstructing him as a historic figure and fictional character—an individual and an allegory—who acts and is acted upon in the theater of war.