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METAMORPHOSIS

2012

160 x 160 cm
Lightjet print on diasec
3.5-cm aluminum box edge

 

Metamorphosis - Steve Sabella
   
Metamorphosis - Steve Sabella
       
       
       
Metamorphosis - Steve Sabella
   
Metamorphosis - Steve Sabella
       
       
   
Metamorphosis - Steve Sabella
   

Metamorphosis - Steve Sabella

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Installation Shots
 
 
 
Archaeology of the Future - Metamorphosis Archaeology of the Future - Metamorphosis Archaeology of the Future - Metamorphosis
 
 
 
Layers - Metamorphosis Layers - Metamorphosis
 
 
 
Metamorphosis Metamorphosis & In Exile
 
 
 
View from the Inside - Metamorphosis View from the Inside - Metamorphosis
 
 
 
Keep Your Eye on the Wall - Metamorphosis Keep Your Eye on the Wall - Metamorphosis Keep Your Eye on the Wall - Metamorphosis
 


 
 
 
 

 
 
 
REVIEWS / VIDEOS
 
DEUTSCHE WELLE - GUEST & STORY - Steve Sabella: Occupation is Like Rape - It Cannot be Justified
By Samah Altaweel
Interview of Steve Sabella (Arabic)
 
Deutsche Welle
 
Deutsche Welle - The Guest and the Story
 

 
 
 
Crowds Flock to Art Miami and CONTEXT, Where Blue-Chip Art Reigns
By Eileen Kinsella
artnet News
November 30, 2016
 
artnet News
 
Dealer Marco Sassone, owner of Metroquadro Gallery in Turin, was showing, among other works, conceptual photographs by Palestinian artist Steve Sabella, whose work focuses on creating a new reality in the face of conflict.
 

 
 
 
Re-constructing Dasein: The Works of Steve Sabella
By Charlotte Bank
Institute for Middle East Understanding
March 28, 2016
 
IMEU
 
Following Steve Sabella’s path through his projects In Exile (2008), In Transition (2010), Euphoria (2010), Beyond Euphoria (2011), Metamorphosis (2012) and finally Independence (2013), the onlooker has access to a unique view of the psychological struggles the artist faced in his condition of up-rootedness. In each series except Independence, Sabella used a particular collage technique, piecing together fragmented photographic images taken from multiple perspectives. Sabella has likened this meticulous process, the careful re-arranging and twisting of forms, to painting rather than any classical use of photography. In many of these collages it is difficult to discern any clear directions; there seems to be no clear up or down. When drawn into these images, one finds oneself caught in a dizzying, free-floating condition, disturbing at first, but maybe also offering the promise of endless freedom, to be found somewhere, sometime.
 
PDF

 
 
 
Perturbed Visions
By Nat Muller
Walls and Margins exhibition cataloague
November 2015
 
Walls and Margins
 
There is no top or bottom here, no sky or ground, the wall is reduced to pure pattern that confuses our way of looking... the pattern appears hermetic, it is frayed at the edges and hints at a transitional process. History has taught us that if walls can be put up, they can also be knocked down.
 

 
 
 
New Constellations for Steve Sabella
Canvas
January 2015
 
Canvas
 
It was a busy year for Berlin-based Palestinian artist Steve Sabella, with 2014 seeing four exhibitions and a monograph (Steve Sabella: Photography 1997–2014 by Hatje Cantz)... Layers (21 September–21 October) at CAP Kuwait featured the new series Independence (2013) and 38 Days Of Re-Collection (2014) alongside Metamorphosis (2012) and Exit (2006) alongside a book launch on the opening night.
 

 
 
 
Free-Falling Into the Future: In Conversation with Steve Sabella
By Madeline Yale Preston
Independence Exhibition Catalogue, Meem Gallery in Dubai
2014
 
Independence
Madeline Yale Preston: Several of your series’ titles – In Exile, Metamorphosis, Euphoria, Beyond Euphoria, to name a few – suggest states of being that are interconnected in sum. One interpretation is that these ‘states’ are autobiographical, referring to your own evolutionary psychological framework, largely in response to living in occupied Jerusalem for the majority of your life. The title Independence – also a state of being – is a leading one. What is it independence from?

Steve Sabella: In my catalogue essay for the
Archaeology of the Future exhibition in Verona (October 2014), I ask whether we can break ourselves free from our image. In my work I explore decoding fixed systems that are constantly at work to entrap people in bordered spaces. Over time this investigation led me to see the bigger picture. Each series I have created began with a search of how to explore and exit the state of mind I was living in. I transformed this state into a visual dilemma or a question, which, once solved, would lead me to a new state with a new visual challenge. Looking back at my work, I see that I was unfolding visual palimpsests that explore the multiple layers of my past, and the influence perception had on my ‘reality’. Today my images gain their independence from my narrative. The narrative might still be there, but it will unfold itself in a different way. There are hidden layers in images that change perception all the time. It is time to engage further in the process of looking, where meaning resides only in the mind of the viewer.
 

 
 
 
Steve Sabella: An Encounter
By Karin Adrian von Roques
Archeology of the Future Exhibition Catalogue, The International Center of Photography Scavi Scaligeri in Verona
2014
Archaeology of the Future Catalogue
Steve’s window pieces are an example of his artistic approach, how he studies images and finds loopholes where he can jump from one dimension to another. The windows are imagined windows or images of windows that he perceived in his imagination.
 

 
 
 
Discoveries of a Mental Journey
By Beatrice Benedetti
Archeology of the Future Exhibition Catalogue - The International Center of Photography Scavi Scaligeri in collaboration with Boxart Gallery, Verona
2014
 
Archaeology of the Future Catalogue
 
...Barbed wire, a symbol of physical coercion, here seems to heal the wounds it causes. Similarly, the wall around the occupied Palestinian territories becomes as permeable as its shimmering reflection in the water. Going beyond the boundaries of the photographic image, both to the ancient art of mosaic and to the new world of multimedia, Sabella thus finds a place of his own in today’s acentric world.
 

 
 
 

Beyond Palestine
By Malu Halasa
Layers Exhibition Catalogue, Contemporary Art Platform (CAP) Kuwait
2014

Layers

In Metamorphosis (2012), Sabella explores the Palestinian landscape through the repetition of images he photographed in London and Berlin. In 160 x 160 cm light-jet prints, a single motif – a window with a lone cactus, security grills, barbed wire or what looks like a once demolished and now bricked-up wall – is repeated in an explosion of an organized yet chaotic reoccurrence. The images capture the day in, day out monotony of the occupation for those who endure it. From these images one gets the distinct impression that the unseen participants in these cruel, 3-D Escher-like assemblies are either constrained by what is taking place all around them, or have become inured to its relentless constancy.

 

 
 
 

Foreword
By Abed Al Kadiri
Layers Exhibition Catalogue, Contemporary Art Platform (CAP) Kuwait
2014

Layers

In Metamorphosis (2012), Steve is torn between two very dierent worlds: an inner world of inspired isolation and an external one that provides a premonition of hope. His collages present dismantled forms that become distinctly separate from their original contexts.The identifiable elements are often polarizing - barbed wire against the blue sky; cactus flowers and closed windows; steel bars and transcendent light. Do these works embody a new transitional stage in his life?

 

 
 
 

Steve Sabella - Photography 1997-2014
By Hubertus Von Amelunxen

2014

Monograph

As a counterpart, the image internally disseminates a fragment into a diversity of confrontations. The division of the pictures features no center; photography’s central perspective has been shattered, and in each repetition of the motif the latter is mounted in a difference to itself, as if spoken to the echo. The genesis of the image is an intuitive process...

And like
In Exile and Euphoria, a rhythmic movement is at work in the images; now an arabesque sweep moving across the image, now a clearly contrapuntal arrangement, so that the images correspond to an almost musical writing, a score or notation.

 

 
 
 

Review: Fragments
By Sheyma Buali
Harper's Bazaar Art Arabia
July/August 2014

harpers bazaare

Each section of Fragments uncovers a different side of Sabella’s mental, physical and familial worlds. Honest and forthright, the works express anxieties associated with being in exile. Metamorphosis (2012), for instance, is another disembodied world of fractured imagery, only this time we see walls rather than windows, and bricks so densely packed that the thick cement between them creates an obstructive barrier. This motif is repeated, producing an image of claustrophobic occlusion. In others, barbed wire sticks through the surface of the walls, knotted and stitched through the images, resembling a hastily repaired wound.

 

 
 
 

Spatial Reflections
By Charlotte Bank
IkonoTV - Carte Blanche

2013

Ikono

 

Steve Sabella has since his series “In Exile” (2008) been using multi-angled photomontages to investigate his mental map as he strove to come to terms with the condition of inner exile and dislocation that defines his existence since an early age. In the following series, “In Transition” (2010), “Euphoria” (2010) and “Beyond Euphoria” (2011), like he did in “In Exile”, he delved into the depths of his own mind and studied the complexities of his alternating feelings of anxiety and deliverance. In his new work, “Metamorphosis” (2012), Sabella seems to have reached a new stage on this path, a stage of maturity, of meticulously “reconstructing” his self, as he states on his website. The images that form the basis of the series are all somehow related to Palestinian reality, the separation wall, barbed wire, the cactus plant behind the window. But these images are in no way simple statements of cultural belonging. Rather, each of them appears to hold an inner conflict between the outer appearance and the inner function, or between the obvious connotation and possible other significations.

Thus, Sabella has chosen to turn barbed wire into a method to “stitch wounds together” or as “organic extensions of a tree branch” (stevesabella.com). The spectator is drawn into a whirl, like a kaleidoscope by the pattern of plants and wire, blurring the boundaries between the two elements. This ultimate metamorphosis of a symbol of restricted movement and forced control into a whirling movement of vegetal forms appears as the crucial step to overcome those burdens that weigh upon humans in conflict zones around the world and could constitute an important step in a necessary process to overcome the wounds of a tormented history.

 

Watch promo video


 
 
 

Steve Sabella's Ecdysis: The Catharsis of Metamorphsis
By Dorothea Schoene
Contemporary Practices - Volume XI
2012

Contemporary Practices

The way I understand metamorphosis is that the rebirth will still remember or carry with it some burdens of the past, given that there is no DNA change. I do perceive my life in a more mature way now.

 
PDF
View article on the Contemporary Practices website

 
 
 

Stages of Transition. Visualizing Exile in the Work of Steve Sabella
By Dorothea Schoene
Afterimage - Volume 39, Number 6
2012

Afterimage

A question remains, however: is this a way of coming to terms with, and accepting the world as foreign land—mundus totus exilium est, as in the twelfth-century quotation by Hugh of Saint Vincent—or is it a way of bringing an end to feelings of estrangement and displacement? What comes “beyond” or “after” euphoria, when one calms down and returns to contemplation? Is acceptance of exile then a dissociation of the exile status from its negative characteristics and connotations, such as loss and loneliness? Is it a process of overcoming nationality as the primary defining moment of one’s own identity as well as the ground of perception for the other?

Sabella’s work, then, almost literally serves as an illustration for Edward Said’s seminal essay on the subject. In “Reflections on Exile” (2000), Said argues that critical insight and perception of exile produce a “pleasure” that may surmount the “grimness of outlook” of those actually experiencing exile. This does not mean, however, a satisfaction with the situation: “Exile is never the state of being satisfied, placid, or secure.”

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