Forgotten Cities introduces audiences to Azzam’s singular practice though a series of new paintings and mixed-media collages. Combining paint with colorful pieces of torn and shredded paper, Azzam’s collages present startling imagery of a homeland devastated by years of violent conflict: collapsed buildings, abandoned busses, and the broken surfaces of ancient, once-bustling cities. With their painterly compositions and layered, tactile surfaces, the works are at once beautiful and devastating. These cityscapes are paired with a selection of related works, including psychologically charged portraits and intimate landscapes that sit between abstraction and figuration.
Forgotten Cities is both a frank depiction of the current state of Azzam’s native Syria, and an exercise in memory and growth. The exhibition’s title refers to the uninhabited ancient cities in northwest Syria, abandoned since the 10th century. As he creates images of Damascus, the artist delves into a cathartic exercise of remembering and piecing together fragments of a home, while rebuilding his life and practice in Berlin. Beyond violence, loss, and displacement, Azzam’s new body of work reflects an ongoing artistic evolution that transcends politics and time. Said the artist, “Political events come and go, but what remains is the art produced as a testimony of that time.” (Artforum, 2016)
Tammam Azzam (b. 1980, lives and works in Berlin, Germany) received his BA from the University of Damascus.
Tammam Azzam: Forgotten Cities
Exhibition Dates: September 5 – November 2, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
49 Geary Street, Suite 540
San Francisco, CA 94108