January, 2017 saw Hatem El Imam experimenting with etching and drypoint techniques at the FMC. The result is a series of large-scale prints with which he calls into question the conventions of scale and framing. Through the concatenation of a large number of prints, he creates an infinite landscape, starting from a central work that develops in all directions. His work exists on the intersection between realism and abstract expressionism and is born from imagination and improvisation. Hatem El Imam examines the relationship between viewer and landscape, and existing notions of familiarity and alienation.
His landscapes can be read as 'sublimated self-portraits'. During the festival Moussem Cities: Beirut, the prints Hatem El Imam created during his residency were exhibited in the Bozar exhibition space in the Galerie Ravenstein.
"During my residency I intend to create large prints using intaglio printing techniques (mainly etching and dry point) exploring notions of landscape depiction, and challenging conventions of scale and framing.
My past work has been engaged with the notions of belonging and alienation in representations of place. The position of the subject and the viewer are brought to the fore, highlighting the self-reflexiveness of landscape and its reading as a possible ‘sublimated self-portrait’. Stylistically, my drawings fall between realistic depiction and gestural abstract expressionism generating a dual reading; on a macro level framing a particular space from a specific vantage point, and on a micro level, bringing awareness of the medium itself.
The project I propose is a seemingly endless landscape created by tiling a multitude of large prints. I will start by working on a central piece from which the scene will unfold in all directions. Rather than depict a real scene from observation or a photograph, this landscape will grow organically out of an imagined and improvised terrain. The aim is to create an immersive vista borrowing from conventions of monumental landscape paintings on one hand, and the intricacy and intimacy of print on paper on the other."
02.01.2017 - 02.02.2017