Besher Koushaji’s Fragments of Memory in Art

Scene, a solo-exhibition of works by artist Besher Koushaji pays an homage to his home country, which he was forced to abandon, this show portrays Syria through a fractured, distorted, personal and conceptual lens.

Opening at Art on 56th on March 8, Koushaji roots his visual language in abstraction, reassembling fragments of his memory and of the features of the city to produce a unique identity of his nation.

In this recent body of works, the artist employs linear and geometric forms to address issues of destruction and loss. His paintings are expressive through the use of lines and of colours, and his planes reveal complex layers of patterns and silhouettes. His visual field is distorted by abstraction, like a broken mirror whose fragments yield a multitude of perspectives. Some of the canvases depict figures. However, their faces are distorted by this network of cracks, obliging a certain anonymity and imposing a distance with the viewer. The works become difficult to read, yet simultaneously emanate a familiar aura.

Besher Koushaji plays with the aesthetic of reflections, shadows and silhouettes to create ephemeral landscapes and portraits. He emblematizes the destruction of Syria while also attempting to reconstruct the identity of his home through his memories. The refracting lens serves as a means of distortion but also reminiscence.

The architectonic planes and layers embody the growing distance between the artist and his home, time and place, past and present. As the image of Syria fades, memory becomes abstract, the canvas becomes a puzzle and the observer’s role is to reassemble the picture. His depictions are like impressionistic mirrors, subjectively echoing expressive reflections of his home.

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