‘D’Eaux, de Graines et de Particules Lumineuses’ by Fakhri El Ghezal at Lilia Ben Salah Gallery Paris

Fakhri El Ghezal_Astres perdus 14_Eau de javel et encre sur papier_29,5x21cm_2023
Fakhri El Ghezal Astres perdus 14 Eau de javel et encre sur papier 29,5x21cm 2023

Lilia Ben Salah Gallery opens ‘D’Eaux, de Graines et de Particules Lumineuses,’ Fakhri El Ghezal’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Known for his multifaceted work, El Ghezal transforms his studio into a space that bridges his diverse practices. Recognised as a photographer and video artist capturing the harshness of reality, and as the painter Ibrahim Matouss, he also writes incisive phrases under the pseudonym Oueld Halima. In this new space, El Ghezal consolidates his various personas into a singular artistic expression.

Since 2020, El Ghezal has developed a practice centred around bleach on coloured paper. This process, initiated by chance, transforms perceived loss into luminous gain, as the bleach reveals vibrant colours. This discovery led to a ritualistic practice where El Ghezal drew coloured shapes and applied bleach with a felt pen, creating intricate figures of dissolution. These monochrome ovoid shapes, resembling plant leaves or ellipsoids, populate both small and large surfaces in systematic or freeform arrangements.

Fakhri El Ghezal_Astres perdus 10_Eau de javel et encre sur papier_29,5x21cm_2023
Fakhri El Ghezal Astres perdus 10 Eau de javel et encre sur papier 29,5x21cm, 2023

In the Tunisian dialect, to “open the colour” means to dilute it through various nuances until it disappears. El Ghezal’s exploration of this chemical process interests him for its ability to reveal diverse colour nuances without losing substance. This intricate play with colour and light in his circumscribed forms reflects a deeper search for openings within enclosed spaces.

El Ghezal’s ritualistic practice transcends mere visual play, delving into serious contemplation. His meticulous setup, from the stall to the carefully arranged papers, underscores the gravity of his artistic process. This dedication hints at deeper meanings and personal experiences, including a period of incarceration, which influences his work. The enclosed spaces in his art evoke both the confines of a prison cell and the meditative refuge of a seeker. In these spaces, El Ghezal finds pathways of light and colour, suggesting an escape and a quest for revelation.

Through his work, El Ghezal invites viewers to pause and capture moments of light and insight, mirroring the experiences of confinement and meditation. His art reveals the profound interplay between darkness and light, constraint and freedom, ultimately offering a glimpse into the transformative power of seeing.

Fakhri El Ghezal, Errance vert 1, eau de javel et encre sur papier, 30x40,5cm, 2023
Fakhri El Ghezal, Errance vert 1, eau de javel et encre sur papier, 30×40,5cm, 2023

About Fakhri El Ghezal

Born in 1981 in Akouda, Tunisia, Fakhri El Ghezal is a Tunisian visual artist and independent filmmaker. His multifaceted practice includes silver photography, video, painting, drawing, and calligraphy, often blending these mediums. From 2008 to 2021, he worked as a pyrography painter under the pseudonym “Ibrahim Màtouss” and later practised calligraphy under the pseudonym [Weld Hlima].

El Ghezal’s work centres on light and memory. Moroccan author Arafat Sadallah describes it as “manifestation by light and in light.” His photography, as noted by Ismaël in “Traces,” explores the interplay between memory and image, body and photograph, in a continuous, resonant cycle.

El Ghezal graduated from the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts of Tunis and the Institut des Beaux-Arts of Nabeul. His work has been showcased in numerous international festivals and exhibitions, including the African Photography Encounters in Bamako, Documenta Fifteen in Kassel, the New Museum in New York, MUCEM in Marseille, and the Centre d’Art Vivant in Tunis. He has also participated in the Carthage Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, and the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival.

Location: Lilia Ben Salah Gallery, Paris

Dates: 13 June – 20 July 2024



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