All That Remains by Steve Sabella. A Mirror on the Palestinian Question
Babbilonia Art Blog
August 16, 2021
“Everything I have written so far is masterfully condensed into one of the works by Steve Sabella (Jerusalem, 1975), Palestinian artist on display in the interesting collective Blocks, on display at the Albergo delle Povere in Palermo and curated by the two homonymous Daniela Brignone – incredible but true – one art historian and the other historical. All That Remains , from 2018, is the work that captivated me and pushed me to this reflection. Art can be one of the most powerful and suggestive tools for investigating reality. It makes us reflect, it can make us indignant, feel disgust, move, upset. In any case, it acts on us like a medium, altering our perception, at times targeted. And our ideas or prejudices. It becomes a mirror in which to look at oneself, a black surface, an abyss of the unconscious, an unknown reservoir where desires and fears lurk that we do not dare, more or less consciously, to bring to light. And this installation, consisting of a transparent cube containing wall fragments of a house in Old Jerusalem, on which are affixed photos of another Palestinian house during the Israeli occupation of 1948, was enveloped in an epiphanic light. which would then lead to the birth of the current nation. The whole is dominated by a fragment of wood coming from the tracks of the Auschwitz concentration camp, perpendicular to the upper face of the cube. A juxtaposition that displaces and leaves one to a silent contemplation in which too many thoughts wander like crazy in the mind.”
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Reunification of Self and Home
“Since then, whether at home or living in physical exile, he’s been among the Palestinian artists who use their media to challenge notions of authority and politics, as well as examine the personal and cultural impacts of the area’s ongoing occupation and violence. His work not only
explores those underlying issues and interweaves questions surrounding notions of identity, reality and hyperreality but also offers solutions that, if not practical, are startling in their boldness.”
ALL THAT REMAINS
By Daniela Brignone
BLOCKS exhibition catalogue, Palermo
“A game of mirrors creates a cross-reference between the materials contained in the cube. The silence and the light effects produce an environment of profound reflection. In putting the materials together, a relationship of proximity is established between them and at the same time their autonomy is recognized.
The combination is strong and speaks for itself, placing the observer in front of big questions. How could what had already happened happened? Can a mortally wounded people procure for another people the same people they suffered? Was another solution possible? Will that paradox ever end? The themes that the work leads to face are immense, universal and yet concrete at the same time. Healthy themes that burn every day for over 70 years on the skin of those who live the paradox and of those who observe it. In the great circle of history can events repeat themselves with an inversion of the parts that leaves no hope for the progress of humanity?
Sabella, a Palestinian artist born in Jerusalem, often rifts in his works, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All That Remains is a project that offers new spaces for discussion and is a further step in the construction of the message of liberation of the Palestinian people launched in several works by Steve Sabella.”