The Harrowed Hands of Palestine
By Sarah Irving
November 2, 2015
…in “Till the End,” rural scenes and ruined houses — part bucolic, part melancholy — are printed onto fragments of Jerusalem stone, the pale golden limestone characteristic of the area… Sabella manipulated his photographic images to evoke ideas about the land, the people who live and build on it, and their relationship to place. And through each runs the thread of time — of elements of a scene which pass in months or years, and those which remain steadfast.
Steve Sabella, “My Art Is Not About Palestine! It’s About My Life.”
Palestine Square – The Blog of the Institute for Palestine Studies
By Khelil Bouarrouj
March 6, 2015
The 2004 collection Till the End conveyed a Jerusalem as envisioned by the artist:
“My art is not about Palestine! It’s about my life.” Steve Sabella quickly corrected me as I started our interview with a line about his art and its connection to the land of his birth. Sabella rejected the effort to label him. “Many people seek to put labels and categories on my work,” he told me. And while aware of the expectations surrounding a “Palestinian artist,” he has long held that what other people think of him is of no consequence to his own truth. Sabella is not trying to distance himself from Palestine. Far from it, he assures me, but he contends, “I think it is better to be from someplace” than to be defined by it. Steve from Jerusalem, Palestine, rather than Steve the Palestinian. Instead of national labels doing the introduction, Sabella argues, understanding people as simply from somewhere—recognizing the individual instead of projecting their representation of a collective upon them—allows for clearer communication between us all.
Steve Sabella. Archaeology of the future
December 24 2014
Discoveries of a Mental Journey
Archeology of the Future Exhibition Catalogue
The International Center of Photography Scavi Scaligeri in Verona
By Beatrice Benedetti
Steve’s trip, it could be said, was simply an expedition, with discoveries and restoration, the only difference being that the key value of the objects he found is not the rediscovery of a lost time, but rather the discovery of an original idea that is preserved for the days to come.
Steve Sabella – Photography 1997-2014
By Hubertus Von Amelunxen
Till the End puts a photographic imprint on a stone that itself carries thousands of years in and on it as an unreadable impression… In Till the End, the ubiquity of place resulting from a photograph that actually obliterates every origin, every bond, is superimposed on stones from Jerusalem. The stones are enfolded in a skin of the moment, contrasted, and “palimpsested” by Sabella’s memory with the memory of the stone, readable only geologically, with its “perspiring memory,” as Francis Ponge circumscribed the sublime, simple as well as complex memory of a stone…
If the unique peculiarity of the photographic, its ontological character, consists in putting an end to every becoming in time, while at the same time preserving that end as a becoming in the image, then in Till the End Sabella draws photography into an allegorical configuration of perpetual loss. The spirit of the place applies to the stone, which has been relieved of place, not carried away by erosion but by the hand of man and covered in images that supplement the stone, putting it at the disposal of other interpretations. ‘. . . We came in a hurry from the twilight of two places at one time . . .’
Steve Sabella – In Exile – Conversation with the Artist
Exhibition Catalogue, Metroquadro Gallery, Turin
By Sara Rossino
Was this consciousness already present in Till the end? What was the meaning of this work?
“Today I understand better the essence of that experience. Till the end continued my obsession with hyperrealities from Search (1997) and End of Days (2003) where I penetrated through the unseen light an imaginary world which felt for me more real that reality itself. I started living in this constructed reality. So I ask myself today, whether the images on the stones were early visual prophecies about what was happening to Jerusalem and its transformation into an image (eventually disappearing) and how in many ways many of these images accompanied me from childhood.”
PDF (Italian & English)
Steve Sabella – I am From Jerusalem
Exhibition Catalogue – The Empty Quarter Gallery, Dubai
By Christa Paula
Light, in different spectra, is significant and is utilized to create an imaginary reality, a promise of relief in a world beyond the visible. The yearning for escape is palatable. Importantly, these early works incorporate aspects of fragmentation and re-assembly as well as the digital manipulation of the photographic image, prescient of Sabella’s mature formal vocabulary. The artist’s conceptual bearing, however, was articulated in the course of the projects created between 2004 and 2006: Till the End, Spirit of Place (2004), Kan Yama Kan (2005), and jerusalem in exile – tangible memories (2006-2009). Collectively, they focus on Jerusalem and comprise a thorough investigation of the dialectic between place and perception.
By Martina Corgnati
Journal, VI, 2010
…Steve Sabella emulsified some rocks with the image of places, buildings or fragments of a landscape representative of his childhood’s environment, that was already transforming and disappearing. The city is changing, it’s being transformed, covered by complex and even conflicting meanings that it didn’t have before. Well, this kind of experience has not been made just by people who lived or have grown up in Jerusalem: Which city did not undergo an important, maybe even excessive or violent transformation within the past few years, both in the Arab World and outside? What happened for example to Cairo, London, New York where Steve Sabella actually lived and studied, and at the moment resides in London?