Ayyam Gallery Dubai (11, Alserkal Avenue) presents The Road, a solo show by Tammam Azzam. Comprising of a brand new body of work, The Road centers around Azzam’s first series of paintings executed since leaving Damascus over four years ago. Established as a leading voice for his native Syria, the artist has become internationally celebrated for his powerful digital media artworks that have chronicled the tragic events of the uprising in the spring of 2011 and consequent humanitarian crisis that followed. No longer limited to the constraints of working digitally, Dubai based Azzam has now settled back into studio-life, returning to the painting practice he left behind in Damascus.
Working on a large scale, the artist’s dense, painterly canvases place the viewer at the beginning of a still and empty road, a road that has no set direction or destination, a road with endless trajectories and countless unseen obstacles along the way. Made up of cropped compositions, the series Storeys depicts the physical wreckage of war for as far as the eye can see. The banality of everyday life is entirely absent from the deserted settings contributing to the heavy atmosphere of loneliness and retreat. The viewer can only speculate how or even if life goes on behind the ravaged walls of multi-storey buildings. Two ambitious, site-specific installations add an immersive, three-dimensional element to the series. New digital media prints will accompany Azzam’s latest body of work lending a more abstract, universal interpretation of the notion of an unspecified journey or Road. Navigating his way through the labyrinth of physical and emotional consequences for those who have escaped their war-torn homeland, Tammam Azzam rejects any attempt to oversentimentalise what has been left behind or what lies ahead, instead he leaves us with difficult and confronting questions.