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Red Square Series 9

Red Square Series 9

Nja Mahdaoui

Red Square Series 9

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Red Square Series 9


Red Square Series 9
Silkscreen Lithograph
Image Size: 50 x 35 cm
Print Size: 53 x 69 cm
Limited Edition of 14/50
Signed and Numbered

In painting, my major concern is primarily a fundamental urge to create, and a willingness to break away from the cultural maze of submission to a fixed genre or to a pre-established and set style. In my surroundings, it has been necessary mentally and intellectually, to begin by de-structuring shapes and influences of other schools; then it has been necessary to undertake a complete dismantling of the written form (canons, cultural codes): letters, signs, messages, words and codes. It was a matter of trans-coding and breaking away with the scientific discourse of the visible verb and of the suggestive power of the stated and of the non-stated.

The question was first to bring back my own signs and codes inside the process of human knowledge and to merge all that does not pertain to my agiographic identity so that, through the act of creation, I succeed to signify upon the referent of the future orientation. Then, starting from a given point acknowledged by universal history, I was a concerned-conscious-witness within a cosmic temporality of a cultural entity which specificity has, for a long time, been confused with sclerosis and mimicry, with the effect of mummifying the creator in a downgraded position of inertia.

The use and acknowledgement of letters, signs or parts of letters in my work, has been the outcome of an intuitive attitude of non-submission to the authority of imposed values. Through its signifying presence which has grown into a code, the calligraphic sign, regains its position over the image and invites the viewer to decode-imagine-read the syntactic word in a context of relationships-presence and with an unconscious reaction and an instinctive resistance to receiving the aesthetic effect of the entire work which is offered. These are the conventional rules of the visible, the concrete, the absolute and the recognizable: comprehensible phonemes likely to lose their media suited meaning-code of psycho-sensorial human relationships, while the painting offers a formal wholeness, though abstract, of a specific definite and universal entity.

In the style and composition of a work in process, and with all the graphic schemes of Arab characters, away from the linguistic structures of the architectural montage of the verb and of phraseology, I subvert the rigidity entrapping the very laws and academic rules of calligraphy; values of a different time and of another epistemological system. What I am concerned with is to weave and to achieve a visual work from parts of a material (speaking code) after I have blocked all the a priori phonetic faculties and while retaining only the morphology of an aesthetic reflection. This obligation towards independence allows me to produce plastic combinations where the absence of prosaic matters urges to see-experience rather than to penetrate-read. It is the world of signs which is disturbed: no signification - explanation, nor any designation to trivialize a memorized thought. With its distance from the word, the sign offers a new visual opportunity of a presence - material synthesis, signal - temporal - global graphics.

The negation of the signifier in the work, implicitly leads one to be aware of the aesthetic contours allowing a penetration and an understanding of the indicators. Any marked designation involves the use of the mind through a process of a structuralist approach towards language, and a removal from the immediate and sensual relationship of the individual to the work. The scanning process, which the viewer undertakes while decoding the signs in a work, is part of a cultural attitude of relationships of ownership and belonging.

The sign, an indication of a specific culture, is first felt, before it is perceived in its transcendence of suggestive appropriation transfer. For someone thrust in ambivalence generated by doubt and by the fear of not succeeding to recognize or to inhabit that which he has considered his, including heritage and cultural legacy, the absence of the word-mark-key and of the alteration of the reference discourse, creates a condition of mental impotency and of reduction of one's sense of personal boundary. Due to their conceptual approach, these rhythms and aesthetic writings generate new thinking orientations through which the viewer experiences his perceptive faculty, at the expense of his intuitive impulse. When the work is offered with its physical logic, all its material substances vibrate in unison and prompt both thinking and sensory growth. The extent of any form of desire is no longer necessarily expressed by appropriation but by degrees of internal sensitivity towards sentimental past experience.

To avoid classifying works of art in relation to subjectivities, to a definite time in history or to a determined group eliminates oneiric notions of space and paves the way for universal exchange. When it is a matter of making a choice and a decision with the aim of achieving a specific art, in the sense of another art, involving the impulsive drives which go beyond the superficial effect of inherent beauty, it is necessary to put aside all academic antagonisms. It is here an interrogation concerning temporal disorder during the achievement stages of a creation in process; a crack which could cause memory to wither under the effect of shock produced upon the being and its other while human beings originally belong to the work.

Presented at the exhibition Ecritures, Tunis 1998 and Tokyo, December 1995.

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