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Press release Benji Boyadgian

Benji Boyadgian
The Discord
Curated by Basak Senova & Jack Persekian
8 march – 28 april 17


Press Release

Boyadgian dismantles the layers beneath ornamental tiles

The Discord, a process of repetition and mutation of patterns echoing Palestine as a place at a juncture and subjected to repeated passage throughout history

Jerusalem- 6 March 2017: Inspired by Palestine as a place at a juncture and subjected to repeated passage throughout history, Benji Boyadgian's exhibition, The Discord, dismantles the entangled layers and temporalities encompassed in the story of ornamental tiles. Through a painting process of repetition and mutating patterns, echoing the footprints that leave traces on the surface, Boyadgian attempts to look at what lies beneath these tiles.

Curated by Basak Senova and Jack Persekian, The Discord presents a project spanning over six years. The show consists of several series of watercolour paintings that reinterpret six patterns taken from ornamental tiles, in addition to three installations and a video. Unlike industrial or digital reproduction, the process that Boyadgian pursues is itself in a permanent state of mutation, a metaphor for history as a repetition of patterns and of surface as perpetual passage.  Boyadgian uses the medium of watercolour for its transparency, fragility and fluidity: “It’s a medium that cannot be corrected. Traces can’t be hidden and there is a permanence and spontaneity in the act”, he explains.

Ornamental tiles were invented in Spain in the middle of the 19th century, and began appearing in urban residences and institutions in Palestine around the turn of the 20th century, in the new residential neighbourhoods of the bourgeoning bourgeoisie. The ornamental forms, formerly an exclusive preserve, became more of a commodity and the timeless work of the craftsmen was gradually replaced by machines. Boyadgian embarked on this project on his return to Palestine six years ago after studying architecture in Paris. He was inspired by the eroded tiles seen in Palestine’s classic buildings, “these tiles, a by-product of their time, are in essence objects of discord, simultaneously a trace, an agglomeration and a projection.”

The exhibition is hosted by Al-Ma’mal, a space that was originally one of the early tile factories in Palestine, first established in 1900, now renovated and turned into a contemporary art space in 2012.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a catalogue edited by Basak Senova and published by Al Ma’mal, will be launched that documents Boyadgian’s artistic research as well as the artworks themselves. Through essays by Jack Persekian, Johnathan Habib Engqvist, Sinan Logie, Behzad Khosravi, Ali Akay and Lara Khaldi, and an extensive interview with the artist himself, the catalogue discusses the aesthetic, historical, political, social, and philosophical aspects around the project. An online version is being hosted by Ibraaz on www.ibraaz.org.

The exhibition is generously supported by the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), DOEN Foundation, and the Islamic Development Bank, a grant implemented by PECDAR – Palestinian Economic Council for Development.

 ‘The Discord’ runs at Al-Ma’mal and Gallery Anadiel, in New Gate, the Old City of Jerusalem, from 8 March to 28 April 2017. Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 10 am until 5pm.



Press: Rana Anani, email: rana@anadiel.com , tel: +972 599 782995

Exhibition: Aline Khoury, email:  info@almamalfoundation.org, tel: +972 542 500672