Independence: Steve Sabella

28 October - 6 December 2014

Meem Gallery is pleased to present Independence, a body of photographic works realized in 2013 by artist Steve Sabella. Born in Jerusalem, Palestine, Sabella often considers the plight and struggle of the Palestinian people in their fight for independence in his work. Sabella is well known globally for his abstracted style, showcased in series such as In Exile (2008), Euphoria (2010), Beyond Euphoria (2011) and Metamorphosis (2012). In Independence, we see a departure from collage, a prolific method in his work, and also the introduction of figures for the first time in some years. These figures hang in darkness, perhaps in outer space or the deep sea—yet in no place and no time—seemingly peaceful but unsettled.

The bodies’ fractured bones and distortions can be seen, as if through an x-ray. Are the tangled and entwined figures helping or hindering one another? The expansive darkness and dismembered bodies present ambiguous and polarizing reflections: utopia vs. dystopia, internal vs. external, and suspension vs. catharsis. As Hubertus von Amelunxen writes in the forthcoming monograph on Sabella’s work, ‘In Sabella’s more recent work Independence (2013), there is a pictorial state of uncertainty that abandons the coordinates of space and therefore of history.’


Independence at Meem Gallery closes the cycle of four solo exhibitions of Sabella’s work this year; including Fragments at Berloni Gallery, Layers at Contemporary Art Platform Kuwait, and Archaeology of the Future at The International Center for Photography Scavi Scaligeri. These interconnected exhibitions mark a new approach in the presentation of the works of Steve Sabella, whereby the artist creates different constellations of his work, bringing forth new readings and interpretations, in a process that decodes the visual palimpsest at the heart of his oeuvre.


In addition to the exhibition, Meem will produce a supporting exhibition catalogue featuring an interview with Sabella by Madeline Yale Preston (independent curator and PhD candidate at Chelsea College of Arts, London). There will also be a monograph launch on 26 October, from 7 – 10pm, to coincide with the opening of the exhibition; of Steve Sabella - Photography 1997-2014, published by Hatje Cantz in collaboration with the Akademie der Künste Berlin, with texts by Hubertus von Amelunxen and Kamal Boullata.