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Jeffar Khaldi, Desert Disco

Thierry Goldberg Projects
5 Rivington Street, 212-967-2260
East Village / Lower East Side
September 7 - October 5, 2008
Reception: Sunday, September 7, 5 - 8 PM
Web Site

Thierry Goldberg Projects is pleased to present Desert Disco, the first New York solo exhibition of Jeffar Khaldi. Born in Lebanon to a Palestinian family and trained in Denton, Texas, Khaldi’s resulting visual language is one in constant unrest and negotiation.

Khaldi’s work reflects on the Palestinian Diaspora and the effects of globalization with a sense of loss and longing. To capture the fleeting free-association of his narratives, he fluidly works within a framework that sometime brings to mind Neo-Expressionism. The urgency with which he paints is evident in both the work’s breadth of scale and his frenzied hand.

In further search of the most direct means of communication, Khaldi incorporates a set symbols and personal mythology. He fuses these elements in a cluttered flight towards “a new reality or . . . an escape from one reality into another.” Sometimes, the resulting mix bears associations of wartime experiences, or frustrations with the Palestinian condition. In ‘86 air’, the tree being hugged represents the love and violent struggle coming from one’s attachment to the land. An explosion of bricks, flames, and flowers cloud over a fallen city in ‘State of Wishful Thinking’ where a domed mosque and olive tree in peril are symbolic of upset tradition.

The paintings in the back room are still symbolically driven, but perhaps due to a smaller scale, refer to pop/pulp art and comic books. These pieces source Americana via critical appropriation, evoking the anxiety of life held in contestation and concession, awaiting resolution.

Khaldi’s use of Arabic calligraphy reads as an ironic commentary on the painted scenarios and his identity as a Middle Eastern artist. The text in some of the paintings are quotations from Surahs, chapter titles from the Qur’an, which either comment or clash upon the depicted scene. As a Middle Eastern artist, Khaldi feels calligraphy has become a cliché of the region’s arts. In personal reclamation, his art of writing is a direct intervention into a tradition turned commodity.

Jeffar Khaldi was born in Lebanon and currently lives and works in Dubai, UAE. His work was shown in the 3rd Sharjah Biennial, UAE; Museo de Arte, San Pedro, Mexico; and B21 Gallery in Dubai.
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