In his first solo at Geukens & De Vil, Moataz Alqaissy (°1986, Baghdad) is presenting a new body of work. Liberating the canvas from the constraints of its supporting role, the artist pushes parameters of what determines a painting. Moving away from ‘the traditional rectangular painting’, Alqaissy’s work introduces a shift in visual hierarchy, liberating the canvas from its frame and turning an historically inferior element, into the dominant, primary part of the work.
Alsaissy’s paintings are characterised by layers of canvas (linen, cotton but also sailcloth), glued on top of each other, or nailed ‘casually’ on the wall. His works incorporate assorted house-hold materials (walls or wood paints and other wall treating, fillers, wires, tie-wraps…) or sometimes even recycled patches of older work. In addition, the artist experiments with mounting canvas on various surfaces (without losing its dominant presence) such as PU-foam. While elevating the role of these ‘supporting materials’, he forms and sculpts his paintings in a way that they convey a rather raw or violent feeling.
Moataz Alqaissy finds inspiration in many domains, from painters such as Sam Gilliam, Simon Callery or Anselm Kiefer, to ancient civilizations, antiquities, and childhood/early adulthood memories in Baghdad, which has been shaped by severe violent political changes. Being born and raised in Iraq, and currently living in Belgium, Alqaissy is balancing between two cultures. Since he left his homeland, the artist continuously investigates the relationship between ‘place’ and ‘body’, how space influences the body or how it can be incorporated in his work. This can sometimes be taken literally when patterns of the wall and floor of his studio find their way on to the canvas by means of using crayon or a paint roller – forming a dialogue between the space where the work is created, and the ‘skin like’ organic look of the canvas. Although Alqaissy’s approach seems rather formal; each work has its own meaning and story, which determines the shape and colour palette. However, the artist refuses to manifest himself as explicitly activist and considers his paintings as a mere extension of himself and his background. By detaching the canvas from its classical function, his paintings manifest as new forms, subtly expressing human emotions, while creating new spatial experience.
Moataz Alqaissy (°1986, Irak) was the first laureate to win the prize Marianne van Vyve in 2021. Following, Geukens & De Vil invited the artist to show his work during TO BE Antwerp (November 2021). His current show – Just a little Pinprick – is the artist’s first solo at the gallery.