Beau Négatif by Mansour El Habre at Art on 56th Gallery
The works of Mansour El Habre in the exhibition “Beau Négatif” focus on a unique depiction of space, characterised by shapes that are colourful, torn, scattered or stacked harmoniously and assiduously, playing with the tension between clear and blurred boundaries. There are forms that are flat, others that are sharp or even suspended in space, resulting in a double, and contradictory point of view: one from above and one in front.
Mansour el Habre’s paintings blur the boundary between separation and unity. A kaleidoscope of chromatic entities morphs into one another, visually vibrating against the canvas’s flat surface, creating a dynamic, tactile surface. The longer the viewer studies the artworks, the more the tension between abstraction and naturalism becomes palpable. Elements of the paintings begin to come alive, with hints of human features peering through the sporadic characterization of shapes.
This spatial antinomy is essential to El Habre’s abstract art. It puzzles the viewers, who are encouraged to experiment with their perspectives in relation to the paintings. Each angle produces a different picture, highlighting an inner force attributed to the artworks, originating from the artist’s technique of piling up, tearing and colouring pictorial elements. The longer the viewer observes the paintings, the more abstraction merges with realism. Abstract forms begin to sport naturalistic qualities, with incomplete fragments forming hints of human characteristics, feeding into antithetical spirit of the works. The eye is constantly seeking to make sense of the myriad of components, engaging in a constant exchange with the surface of the canvases.
An infinite number of interpretations can be made surrounding the paintings and their conception. The narrative is left open to the viewer’s imagination. The compositions represent a visual translation of the artist’s subconscious mind, but also appear to be constructed with precision. They are expressive and soothing, and within their clutter and chaos, lie allure and calm. As such, Mansour el Habre transforms beauty into something purely conceptual, perceived through an objective lens, and expressed via an energetic exchange between art and reality.
Born in Lebanon in 1970, Mansour El Habre holds a Diploma in Plastic Arts from the Lebanese University and a Masters in Plastic Arts from the Balamand University. He teaches Painting and Drawing at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA).
Since 1993, El Habre has participated in individual and group exhibitions in his hometown, Geneva, London, Greece,Cairo, Canada, Paris, Washington, Kuwait, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. He has also been invited by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture to participate in the International Triennial of Engraving in Rodeos, Greece in 2008.
Mansour El Habre: Beau Négatif
Location: Art on 56th gallery – Beirut
Duration: February 23 – March 18, 2023