• Rakajoo, Abdul Rahman Katanani, Zhang Dali, Vhils, Faile, YZ

    Abdul Rahman Katanani, Boy Red Shadow, 2021

    Rakajoo, Abdul Rahman Katanani, Zhang Dali, Vhils, Faile, YZ

    Danysz Gallery is pleased to present an online exhibition devoted to portraits. As the exhibition title True Face suggests, the exhibition’s main preoccupations are the meaning, the ideology and the subversive power of portraits.

    Portraiture in Western art has been crucial for construction and articulation of individualism. It allowed artists to appropriate the means of representation, both aesthetic and political, and articulate new forms of selfhood. However, contemporary artists often use portraiture in a more social way; to draw links between their immediate group of friends or inner circle. 

     

     

  • “I’ve made it because it comes closer to saying who I am than any other method I can use. This work is my identity.”

    —David Smith ‘Tradition and Identity’

  • Rakajoo, young graduate of the Kourtrajmé School in Paris, shows responsiveness to communities and their behaviours. We see young people...

    Rakajoo, Blond, 2021

    Rakajoo, young graduate of the Kourtrajmé School in Paris, shows responsiveness to communities and their behaviours. We see young people on the tube, in a café or in a domestic environment casually reclining on a chair, their gaze pointed at the viewer. It is not a pensive stare. Rakajoo’s subjects are giving you a quick look before they move on with their day. Exhibition’s eponymous painting, Blond, shows a man with a pertinent gaze. His figure is placed in the foreground of a large canvas depicting a popular vegan spot in Paris; allowing for an experience that Maurice Merleau-Ponty described as a “figure stand(ing) out against the double horizon of external and bodily space.” The scale of the sitter suggests thinking of body’s spatiality as being negotiated with the immediate surroundings:  “[…] in order to experience a display of dexterity as a figure against the massive background of the body, the hand and the rest of the body must be linked by this relationship of objective spatiality, so that the figure-background structure becomes once again one of the contingent contents of the universal form of space.”

     

    Relationships seem to play an important role in the artist’s work, often pointing out to blackness and racial identity. He places his portraits in an interaction with each other, establishing connections between an individual and a group, thus suggesting the reading of identity as a collective construct.

  • Rakajoo’s visceral works give an impression of an Istagram feed as well as a well-researched, in-depth study of contemporaneity.

  • Works on view

    • Zhang Dali AK-47(H8), 2008 Acrylic on vinyl 300 x 255 cm 118 1/8 x 100 3/8 in
      Zhang Dali
      AK-47(H8), 2008
      Acrylic on vinyl
      300 x 255 cm
      118 1/8 x 100 3/8 in
    • Faile Liberté Unité, 2020 Acrylic and spray paint on canvas 153 x 122 cm 60 1/4 x 48 1/8 in
      Faile
      Liberté Unité, 2020
      Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
      153 x 122 cm
      60 1/4 x 48 1/8 in
    • Abdul Rahman Katanani Boy Red Shadow, 2021 Corrugated metal, oil barrel 210 x 170 cm 82 5/8 x 66 7/8 in
      Abdul Rahman Katanani
      Boy Red Shadow, 2021
      Corrugated metal, oil barrel
      210 x 170 cm
      82 5/8 x 66 7/8 in
    • Zhang Dali AK-47 (L2), 2008 Acrylic on vinyl 102 x 83 cm
      Zhang Dali
      AK-47 (L2), 2008
      Acrylic on vinyl
      102 x 83 cm
    • Rakajoo painting
      Rakajoo
      Blond, 2021
      Acrylic and oil on canvas
      190 x 145 cm
      74 3/4 x 57 1/8 in
    • Abdul Rahman Katanani Girl Blue Salopette, 2021 Corrugated metal, oil barrel 180 x 150 cm 70 7/8 x 59 1/8 in
      Abdul Rahman Katanani
      Girl Blue Salopette, 2021
      Corrugated metal, oil barrel
      180 x 150 cm
      70 7/8 x 59 1/8 in
    • Rakajoo painting
      Rakajoo
      DD, 2021
      Acrylic and oil on canvas
      160 x 133 cm
      63 x 52 3/8 in
    • Vhils Umbra Series #06, 2020 Hand-carved advertising posters 211 x 142 cm 83 1/8 x 55 7/8 in
      Vhils
      Umbra Series #06, 2020
      Hand-carved advertising posters
      211 x 142 cm
      83 1/8 x 55 7/8 in
  • Zhang Dali represents our contemporary self as a collection of never-endings and narratives. Zhang Dali, on the other hand, attempts...

    Zhang Dali, Slogan 72, 2010

    Zhang Dali represents our contemporary self as a collection of never-endings and narratives.

    Zhang Dali, on the other hand, attempts to create works of a less personal nature, producing photorealistic portraits of anonymous people. The written text ‘AK-47’ blends seamlessly into the human form, collapsing the boundary between physical and ideological. Questioning the nature of representation and authorship, his work exemplifies the overriding influence of the society on an individual - exemplified in the political message dominating the face. 

  • Portraiture is closely interlinked with the cultural and political role of images. After 1789, portraiture came to dominate French visual...

    Abdul Rahman Katanani, Girl Blue Salopette, 2021

    Portraiture is closely interlinked with the cultural and political role of images. After 1789, portraiture came to dominate French visual culture addressing the complex issue of how to turn subjects into citizens.

    French-Palestinian artist, Abdul Rahman Katanani, explores the loss of citizenship and statelessness, when the construction of identity becomes even more complex. Growing up in a refugee camp in Sabra, he incorporates found materials such as barbed wire, corrugated iron, and recycled oil barrels—all suggestive of temporality, borders and conflict. His work Girl Blue Salopette, depicting a girl at play, is made out of repurposed oil barrels. The idea of a portrait, or a human form, is embedded in the material and the separation of both becomes increasingly difficult. Touching up on urban ecology and corporate influence, the work is a commentary on the global production cycle of oil—resulting in an imbalance of power. The human form is shaped by these outside factors as well as of ones inherent wish to live a life according to ones dreams—her playfulness, and abandon.

  • Works on View

    • Rakajoo Distanciation, 2021 Acrylic and oil on canvas 140 x 100 cm 55 1/8 x 39 3/8 in
      Rakajoo
      Distanciation, 2021
      Acrylic and oil on canvas
      140 x 100 cm
      55 1/8 x 39 3/8 in
    • Vhils Umbra Series #08, 2020 Hand-carved advertising posters 211 x 139 cm 83 1/8 x 54 3/4 in
      Vhils
      Umbra Series #08, 2020
      Hand-carved advertising posters
      211 x 139 cm
      83 1/8 x 54 3/4 in
    • Rakajoo En Mouvement, 2020 Acrylic and oil 100 x 140 cm 39 3/8 x 55 1/8 in
      Rakajoo
      En Mouvement, 2020
      Acrylic and oil
      100 x 140 cm
      39 3/8 x 55 1/8 in
    • Yz, Noura, Empress, transfer, courtesy Danysz gallery
      Yz
      Noura, 2021
      Transfer on metal
      25 x 25 cm
      Edition of 5
  • In the case of urban art, one of the most photographed forms of art on Instagram, portraits are often reflecting on social change and distinctive use of urban space. With the rise of social media, one of the main functions of portrait, producing likeness, lost its meaning; selfies and photographs on Internet are all recognized as portraiture. The exhibition’s aim is to put the idea of truthfulness of a portrait into question emphasizing the portrait as a multi-layered construct rather than a seamless resemblance.

  • Liberté Unité by artistic duo Faile is constructed of various visual motifs, each bringing in something new and different into...

    Faile, Liberté Unité, 2020

    Liberté Unité by artistic duo Faile is constructed of various visual motifs, each bringing in something new and different into the work. The composition is flattened out, suggesting view from multiple sides—as if pasted together of different sections of overlapping posters. The final product is decidedly hyper visual and multi-layered. 

    The driving motive behind the portrait is the street, the place of interaction and happening, a composite of transformation and changing face of New York and the US – not least thanks to the impact of Black Lives Matter.

     

     

  • Works on View

    • Zhang Dali Slogan (72), 2010 Acrylic on vinyl 150 x 120 cm 59 1/8 x 47 1/4 in
      Zhang Dali
      Slogan (72), 2010
      Acrylic on vinyl
      150 x 120 cm
      59 1/8 x 47 1/4 in
    • Yz, Noura, Empress series, courtesy Danysz gallery
      Yz
      Noura, 2021
      Black ink on silk paper stuck on wood and raw material dump
      150 x 127 cm
      59 1/8 x 50 in
    • Rakajoo Sur les Quais de Châtelet, 2021 Acrylic and oil on canvas 150 x 180 cm 59 1/8 x 70 7/8 in
      Rakajoo
      Sur les Quais de Châtelet, 2021
      Acrylic and oil on canvas
      150 x 180 cm
      59 1/8 x 70 7/8 in
    • Yz Jihann, 2021 Black ink on silk paper stuck on wood and raw material dump 150 x 150 cm 59 1/8 x 59 1/8 in
      Yz
      Jihann, 2021
      Black ink on silk paper stuck on wood and raw material dump
      150 x 150 cm
      59 1/8 x 59 1/8 in
  • On Identity

    Rakajoo in his studio, 2021

     

     

     

    On Identity

    “I found that painting was made with anything at hand, building board, raw canvas, self-primed canvas, with or without brushes, on the easel, on the floor, on the wall, no rules, no secret equipment, no anything, except the conviction of the artist, his challenge to the world and his own identity. […] I will not change an error if it feels right, for the error is more human than perfection. I do not seek answers. I haven’t named this work nor thought where it would go. I haven’t thought what it is for, except that it is made to be seen. I’ve made it because it comes closer to saying who I am than any other method I can use. This work is my identity. There were no words in my mind during its creation, and I’m certain words are not needed in its seeing; and why should you expect understanding when I do not? That is the marvel – to question but not to understand. Seeing is the true language of perception. Understanding is for words. As far as I am concerned, after I’ve made the work, I’ve said everything I can say.”

    —David Smith ‘Tradition and Identity’, 1959