About his work
An energetic palette applied with rather timid colors, Hanibal Srouji is a painter keen on the labor of theoretical cartographies and surveying anonymous historical sites with the precision of a bullet: Renown for his surface paintings, Srouji's extended work is a constant remapping of a once completely derelict Beirut, imagined from a distant future: How does the incision of a bullet in hard concrete, look in its most singular monumentality? The surfaces are deceivingly abstract but on closer look, they reveal the physical scars of conflict: Houses ransacked, building shelled, and above all, abandonment and exile. The artist, on the other hand, is not a cultural pessimist, and simultaneity of temporalities between a past nostalgia, a precipitating present and a distant future, negotiate terms of engagement without pathos. The dispersion deployed in the paintings is not only a material trace, but also the symbolic form of a social phenomenon: displacement, refuge and exile. Using a blow-torch to create holes and lines into the surface, Srouji is attempting the impossible: To sculpt a wound to excavate the future. The artist notes, "For me, painting is a necessity, my work is always linked to the history of Lebanon and to the Middle East in general".
BiographyHanibal Srouji was born in Lebanon in 1957. He lives and works between Beirut and Paris. He holds a master's degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University in Canada (1987). He had held different teaching positions at universities in the United States, Canada and was at the Sorbonne, in Paris, before joining the Lebanese American University, in 2010, as Associate Professor.
His art addresses notions of memory, exile and above all: healing. Srouji is known for his surface paintings. They stand apparently for abstractions; yet, they reveal physical scars of conflict, as they also address temporalities between: a past nostalgia, a precipitating present and a distant future and negotiate terms of engagement without pathos. The dispersion deployed onto the canvas is not only a material trace, but also the symbolic form of social phenomena that confirms the artist’s notes that “painting is a necessity” and his work is “always linked to the history of Lebanon and to the Middle East in general".
He has held many personal and collective exhibitions, namely “Into the clouds”, at the Singapore Art fair and"The Mac International first open arts prize” in Belfast, Ireland, in 2014. He was featured at the “Abu-Dhabi Art 2015” and “Art14 London”. His work has been acquired by public and private collections, such as the Alcan Collection in Canada, the Carmignac Foundation in France. In 2013, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, representing him in Lebanon, published a book titled: “Hanibal Srouji: painting fire, water, earth and air”. He is also represented in by June Kelly Gallery in New York and Galerie Eulenspiegel in Basel.