UT PICTURA Art Book – Wahib Chehata

$348.15

UT PICTURA is the first large monograph dedicated to Wahib Chehata conceived as a catalogue raisonné, but above all, as a work in its own in the artist’s corpus.

Art critic Clément Thibault captured this substantial «sum» and produced an inspiring text, Le Temps de l’image et des mythes, which accompanies the 300 works in the book. This text deals with the place of the creation of Wahib Chehata in the recent history of photography and how it fits into a historical continuity of pictorial art, at the crossroads of religions, beliefs, great golden centuries of painting, and recent political history, inherited from colonization or the society of capitalism.

Publication: end of November 2019 – Limited edition, numbered and signed by the artist

In stock

It is impossible to ignore the quality of its staging,and his portaits, that they are inspired by paintings of classical masters or that they take their source in his imagination, built by successive strata, and rendered in a visual quintessence that strikes by the correctness of the adequacy of the background and form and by its perfect mastery of light.

The construction of the book takes up the way Wahib Chehata constructed his work, by series: Renaissance, Resilience, Mythologies, Black & Light, Corpus and Entropy.

 

Head print :
The head print is composed of the first 30 copies. Each book is accompanied by a Fine Art print to be chosen from a selection of the artist.
Each original print is signed, numbered and limited to 6 copies Head print is available exclusively here on Hemeria.com

 

Exhibitions
Some of UT PICTURA’s works will be exhibited in Paris Photo from 7 to 9 November 2019 on the Hemeria booth.


Here are some excerpts from the text of art critic Clément Thibault, entitled Le Temps de l’image et des mythes, which accompanies the photographer’s visible images – his “paintings”, as well as a selection of selected images from the book.

 

The images of Wahib Chehata speak to everyone, but they are paradoxical. They talk to everyone and shut up at the same time. Intelligible, they refuse to deliver a precise meaning, which can be circumscribed to a subject. It is in the midst of a common visual heritage that the work of Wahib Chehata crystallizes, memories of images that we share, be they artistic, religious or «profane». It draws on the images that have built our psyche. The poses, attitudes, compositions and symbols that he never ceases to summon are found in various mythologies, in Catholic and Muslim iconography, in western pictorial history and Arabic calligraphy, in the most recent news and some detours by other cultures, pop and urban, and its style appears itself as a crucible mixing various practices—fashion portrait, advertising photography, more recently photojournalism.

A sorrowful mind could see in this a vast post-modern assembly, a bit of a catch-all, without perceiving the cohesion and precision of the work accomplished.
So let us ask this question: why mix the symbols, why reconnect with the compositions of the past? Why quoting? To place yourself in a relationship with art history? Why not, but not only, because it would deny the density of time at work in the images of Wahib Chehata, it would deny their anachronistic aspect.

The compositions and symbols he uses, his willingness to produce a photograph that is a body with painting, it also allows us to revive the expression, like Jeff Wall, to make it more complex and to inscribe it in a common visual heritage. The Renaissance, particularly inspired by Wahib Chehata, is the unfaithful heir of medieval symbolism, rich in allegories and emblems. Wahib Chehata finds this point of balance between the medieval allegory, according to which the image is a figurative writing, and the reborn «realism», which borrows from the ancient model the mimetic and dramatic dimension of the representation. But let us not forget also that quoting the past is a gesture of the present. To throw these secular compositions into our present is to give them a new topicality, to see what remains and remains in them.

Baudelaire saw in the artist the urgent need to “remove from fashion” what it can contain of poetics in history, to draw «the eternal from the transient». Wahib Chehata proceeds backwards: he throws our gift into the eternal. It exhume the forms of the past, that it grime of modernity.

Gisant / 2016 / 150 x 225 cm / Tirage sur papier baryté / Série Renaissance

 

More and more, citizens appear as devotees whose religion changes with each new hashtag. But when we consider them, it is always the same stories that we have been living for centuries, collectively and individually, the conflicts of power, the predation of one over the other, the Ancients against the Moderns, the experience of being inane, of desire, of mourning…

To these questions, to these fears, to this noise, Wahib Chehata responds with the wisdom of the images, from the height of their centuries. For him, plastic work is realized neither in the perspective of virtuosity or inclusion in human values, that is to say the market, nor in commentary, but in sensation. By dramatizing reality, by modelling these archetypes, the clay of the ages, Wahib Chehata seeks pure, collective emotion. A complete work, where expression is served by a strong sensitivity to art history. To photograph as one paints, to read images as one reads a text; to face the density of time.

 

Narcisse / 2016 / 60 x 60 cm / Tirage sur papier baryté

It is almost a methodology, Wahib Chehata likes to twist the myths, to turn them back. More specifically, he likes to render them inoperative in their classical dialectic in order to renew them with an aura of more current meaning, even if it still adorns itself of the old.

With this mask, Wahib Chehata serves us a Narcissus without a face, whose sinful identity is rendered invisible. Represent no one, just like we represent everyone. Moreover, this Narcisse turned away from his reflection on the surface of the water to revel in the photographic lens. The receptacle of self-love is changing, it is no longer the self-satisfaction experienced in the darkness of an undergrowth, it is the one we share. C’est Narcisse à l’heure du selfie.

Veau d’or / 2017 / 150 x 200 cm / Tirage sur papier baryté / Série Résilience

Dans ces images, l’esthétique « papier glacé » de la photographie publicitaire, notamment celle des produits de grande consommation, sert une vaste vanité, où la mort des illusions côtoie celle de la chair, la mort de Dieu sans culpabilité, l’acte impie, l’image peut-être d’une immanence triomphante, où toute verticalité a été abandonnée. Que reste-t-il du corps à part le corps ?

Dans un monde rationaliste, où n’importe quoi se voit transformé en chiffres et en gains potentiels, où rien ne se fait plus le réceptacle du sacré, ces images sont les reflets d’une société où le meurtre a été relégué dans les abattoirs, loin de la vue des hommes qui mangent les restes. La transcendance nous a abandonnés, nous laissant l’industrie agroalimentaire.
Le veau d’or, la tête arrachée. Comme cette image tisse de subtils liens avec l’actualité la plus immédiate, alors que le capitalisme, comme outil de production et d’échange, est remis en cause, alors que la prédation des uns sur la nature, les ressources qu’elle prodigue, et les hommes, par appât du gain, ou par séduction des sirènes du pouvoir, nous a amenés au bord d’un précipice, alors que vacillent nos vieilles certitudes dans l’urgence de penser un nouveau système, plus harmonieux. Nos idoles sont mortes, il faut en trouver d’autres.

Memento mori / 2017 / 180 x 150 cm / Tirage sur papier baryté
Memento mori / 2017 / 150 x 225 cm / Tirage sur papier baryté
GOOLEG / 2017 / Néon bleu, rouge, jaune, vert / 25 x 70 cm / A2Z Art Gallery / Paris

Se faire tirer le portrait, de quelque manière que ce soit, c’est combattre la mort. En faisant (ou en faisant faire) son image, on laisse sur terre une trace, quelque chose qui nous survivra. Un legs à la postérité. D’ailleurs, le terme garde cette lutte intestine contre l’irrémédiable dans son étymologie puisque, à l’origine de la Rome antique, les imagine étaient des masques fabriqués en cire, moulés sur la face des morts et portés en processions. À cette réalité implacable, cet homme cagoulé, aux airs de Savonarole ou de black bloc, répond par la détermination et le léger défi présents dans son regard — fréquents chez Wahib Chehata.

 


Clément Thibault est curateur et critique d’art indépendant. Après des études d’histoire de l’art et de management culturel, il a été assistant-curateur de Laurence Dreyfus, puis rédacteur en chef d’Art Media Agency (AMA) pendant deux ans. Aujourd’hui, il collabore fréquemment avec diverses revues (Art Absolument, AMA, Modern Art…) et a participé à plusieurs ouvrages, monographies et catalogues d’exposition. De l’art classique africain à l’art numérique, son approche inclusive de la critique et du commissariat s’articule autour de réflexions sur l’image et la spiritualité. Depuis 2015, il enseigne l’histoire de l’art dans des établissements spécialisés (ICART, EAC, IESA) et l’histoire et la philosophie du jeu vidéo dans une école de game design (ICAN). Clément Thibault fait partie du conseil d’administration du Cube (Centre de création numérique, Issy-les-Moulineaux), et du jury du Salon d’art contemporain de Montrouge (2020).
Clément Thibault est membre de l’AICA (association internationale des critiques d’art), de C-E-A (association française des commissaires d’exposition) et de Jeunes Critiques d’art (JCA). Il est également membre du conseil d’administration du Cube, centre de création numérique (Issy-les-Moulineaux).
Il a présenté le travail de Wahib Chehata au prix AICA de la critique d’art le 23 avril 2019.

Weight3 kg
Dimensions220 × 280 mm
Number of pages

384 pages

Texts languages

Français et anglais

ISBN

978-2-490952-07-6

Authors

Photographies de Wahib Chehata, textes critiques de Clément Thibault

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