"My works sum up my life."
"I work because I am disorganized. Yet, I seek order in a certain sense. And what I am after is still vague to me. Maybe for this reason I feel free to imagine all sorts of better worlds, without limiting my aimless fantasies."
Joseph Harb's exhibition juxtaposes expressive large and medium paintings, works on paper and boxed in three dimensional art objects.
when I was young, during the [Lebanese] war, my parents used to accumulate things in boxes and run away for shelter... they used to ignore my personal things and leave them behind as unessential..." Today, Harb accumulates his pictorial creations in his boxes. They can be figurative or abstract works. Painted wood or drafted images as references that artist had accumulated over time. An image of a clock stands next to an abstraction or an accumulation of circles... As if he is ...trying to stop time against death..
" as if he is "unconsciously refuting the idea of death..
"Circles are very important to Harb they give him security, an enclosure of intimacy.
The figures in his work are usually still, just there as a still life, ..they represent my relation to reality... I believe that in art the figure is always making reference to the artist and his or her relation to one's environment". When everything in the artist life is blowing up in pieces, time becomes fragmented and daily life itself turns into an abstraction going towards nonsense.
"Chaos acts as a magnet to me. It is curious coincidences... when the hands of luck or the whims of fate reshuffle everything put me in a trance, without conscious control of myself, before the mysterious new configurations of things...
I paint in order not to be hurt.
Eluding death and pain is an underlying current in Harb's Work. Abstraction for him is not a systematic way out towards the sublime. It is the sublime in what it offers him of liberty and freedom to act, paint and create. Making art is the escape from reality, running away from himself.
More recently when he started to use the drill to paint, " ...it goes quicker than my thoughts even faster than my hands..." trying to go faster than reality, going through the canvas, looking for the real answer...
Joseph Harb brings all these concerns together in his work. He sees himself as
"Looking for the summit... in order to retrieve myself", yet, only to find out that there is no summits to reach, only going beyond.
"Isn't everything, including myself, under construction?"
"an exchange with Joseph Harb" - Hanibal Srouji