17 June 2013
I am forever walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain
(Khalil Gibran, “Sand and Foam”, 1926)
It is not easy to speak about a work of art without probably misunderstanding the artist’s thinking and the beliefs he wanted to express.
But I do actually believe that art is, first of all, really subjective. The same work of art can in fact arouse the most different emotions and feelings that could be really far from what the artist aimed to express. Though I guess this is the beauty of art itself: it arouses emotions.
If ,in a remote hypothesis, I were an artist I think this would be my first and most important aim of my work: create something that can arouse an emotion, whatever this emotion could be.
Emotion is our essence as human beings, emotion is life and its continuity beyond any kind of border. This is the reason why in order to describe Mohammed Kazem work I’d rather prefer to express what I think and especially which are my feelings towards this great work of art.
Surely it was important to acknowledge what is the idea behind this work and where did this all starts from. When I first attended the presentation of the UAE Pavilion and Mohammed Kazem’s work in Ca’ Foscari I was intrigued by Reem Fadda’s talk. I knew very little about Emirati art and appreciated a lot the introduction of Mohammed Kazem’s work and his artistic training.
I was fascinated by the shades of blue, the water movement and its sweet sound…I thought about the artist’s experience that inspired the work, being alone in the sea, far from everything. But it’s impressive that, despite this scary situation, the artist realized that he was alone but free, without constraints, borders or limitations…he was there, just as a human being, not defined by nationality or culture, a person in his own essence, unconditioned.
This in my opinion could be seen also as a metaphor of life: despite the adversities, we have to preserve our humanity, our true spirit free from social, political or religious influences, as this is what wouldn’t let us sink in the water but will let us walking on it, peacefully.
I find really interesting also the use of GPS, and the meaning that comes with it. GPS provides your exact location, defines your presence in the world, witnesses your existence. Through GPS you know exactly where you are in the world in the present moment, maintaning your balance within the world. This reminds me a lot the philosophy of balance of Balinese people, according to whom balance in the world is maintained, for both animated and non animated object, by occupying the right space at the right time. In Balinese philosophy happiness can be achieved through establishing and maintaining three harmonious relations, namely relation between human and God, relation between human and human, and relation between human and environment.
This is mostly what Mohammed Kazem’s work tells me: being surrounded by the sea, in absolute loneliness, keeping a traceable position (e.g. With the GPS) but anyway floating – as the sea has its perpetual motion the same as life keeps changing and evolving – we can find a inner balance within ourselves and a balance with the environment around us.
As Khalil Gibran poem suggests, our position in the world is temporary, but the sea will remain forever. But together with the sea I believe will remain also our memory and the fact that we were part of that sea which will, in some way, persist to contain our real essence forever.