Galerie Kornfeld is pleased to present new works by Tammam Azzam on the occasion of Gallery Weekend 2021. The artist, who came to Germany in 2016 and moved to Berlin in 2018, paints contemporary pictures full of emotions that speak to the healing power of art.
Tammam Azzam’s paper collages and acrylic paintings have been “pictures without names” for twenty years. He leaves it to the beholder to interpret them. Are the works abstract? Or are they figurative, and if so: what do they show? Do they show destruction in Syria, a country at war for ten years now, without the global community being able to find a solution? Or does he paint his new home city Berlin? A city that is always becoming, and never just is, and also a city where there are still traces of the wounds and gaps left by the Second World War and the city’s division from 1945 to 1989.
An aesthetic experience is not an appeal, and a picture is not political agitation. But l’art pour l’art, art just for art’s sake, is not enough for Tammam Azzam. His works inspire usto think about ourselves and about the world in which we live. They posequestions, but they don’t give any answers. What we think, see, feel is left upto us. Those who find references to the situation in Tammam Azzam’s homecountry are free to do so. Tammam Azzam himself sees the events in Syria since 2011 as symbolic for the state of our world at the beginning of thetwenty-first century. He uses art to address the urgent questions of our times, such as war, violence, migration, destruction, and construction; finding images that aim directly at our emotions and burn themselves into our memory.
His path took Tammam Azzam from Syria and Damascus via Dubai and Delmenhorst to Berlin, where he has been working and living with his family since 2018. Trained as a painter, his work comprises a wide range of techniques and styles. The quite reduced, almost abstract paintings of his early years were followed by photomontages where, after his arrival in Dubai, the artist addresses directly the conflict in his home country Syria. Since his arrival in Germany, he has been making collage-like paintings, consisting of up to 50,000 small, sometimes tiny papershreds that he usually painted beforehand. These are assembled in several layers into abstracted mosaic-like representations of people, buildings, and structures. He is currently also working with acrylic, continuing, both formally and thematically, what he started in 2016 with his paper collages.
Tammam Azzam (born in Damascus in 1980) was a fellow at Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Institute for Advanced Study, in Delmenhorst in 2016 and has been living in Berlin since 2018. His works are included in collections in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. They have been exhibited throughout the world, including at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.,(2021), the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, and the Rudolf Stolz Museum in Sexten in South Tyrol, Italy (both in 2020), Kunstverein Iserlohn “Villa Wessel”(2019), the Ayyam Gallery, Dubai (2019 and 2016), the For-Site Foundation, San Francisco, (2017, 2016), and Stadtmuseum Oldenburg (2017). In 2021, together with artists like Monica Bonvicini, Rebecca Horn, and Lawrence Weiner, he will contribute a column to Stoa 169, the “Artist Colummned Hall” in Polling, initiated by Bernd Zimmer. Tammam Azzam has received numerous awards and prizes, most recently the Creative Activism Award of the Cultures of Resistance Network.
To mark the occasion of the exhibition “Bilder ohne Namen” a book will be published by Hirmer tracing Tamman Azzam’s artistic journey over 20 years: hard cover, 192 pages, over 120 color illustrations, and essays by Avinoam Shalem, Mamuka Bliadze, and Regine Müller.