February 17, 2020 - ifa-Galerie Berlin - Untie to Tie. Movement #6
February 17, 2020

ifa-Galerie Berlin

Mazen Kerbaj, My Cloud, 2012. Inkjet on acetate in light boxes.

Untie to Tie. Movement #6
In the Presence / Absence of Mazen Kerbaj
February 28–May 17, 2020

Opening: February 27, 7pm
Artist talk: February 28, 4pm, with Mazen Kerbaj and curator Hatem Imam

ifa-Galerie Berlin
Linienstraße 139/140
10115 Berlin
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 2–6pm

T +49 30 28449110

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Curated by Hatem Imam 

Mazen Kerbaj’s art deploys two tropes that are not uncommon in underground comics: autobiography and politics. It is an amalgamation of the personal and the historical. Yet his work extends beyond the panels of comics; it settles in space and is performed through the political body of the artist. Mazen is not merely a witness; he is an actor.

This show, combining old and new works exhibited in this constellation for the first time, draws parallels in time, medium and space. The pieces are placed into a dialogue with each other—an idea hastily scribbled on a restaurant placemat can be seen continued or developed in a live drawing video. It is like entering a room with a legion of Mazen Kerbajs talking, drawing, arguing and drinking with each other. Each one of them is the record of a specific moment and place, on a spectrum of sobriety, in a varying tongue, rendered in a different medium.  Kerbaj is always on the move, and movement is both a condition of his work and its subject.

Mazen Kerbaj’s work is comprised of two elements—music and visual art—and both practices exercise a stark influence on the other. Thus, presenting a series of concerts within the framework of this exhibition seemed like a natural step. The series will see Kerbaj inviting his close collaborators in Berlin to bring another musician with them to the concert. The name of the second musician will remain unknown to Kerbaj and the audience until the date of the show, when the three musicians will perform together on-stage for the first time.

Live performances with Mazen Kerbaj
Ute Wassermann plus one / Thursday, March 19, 7pm
Tony Buck plus one / Thursday, April 23, 7pm
Andrew Lafkas plus one / Thursday, April 30, 7pm

Mazen Kerbaj is a Lebanese comic author, visual artist and musician, born in Beirut in 1975. He is the author of more than 15 books, and his work has been exhibited and published all over the world. He also works on selected illustration and design projects and has taught at the American University of Beirut. As a trumpet player, Kerbaj is one of the initiators and key players in the Lebanese free improvisation scene and the co-founder of the Irtijal experimental music festival in Beirut. He moved to Berlin in 2015 as the recipient of the DAAD artist residency and has lived there since.

Hatem Imam is a visual artist and graphic designer. Together with Maya Moumne, he is the co-founder and co-creative director of Studio Safar and the design and visual culture magazine Journal Safar. He is also the co-founder of the Samandal Comics, artistic director of Annihaya Records and has been teaching at the American University of Beirut since 2007. He started collaborating with Mazen Kerbaj in 2011. Their work Drunken Masters was exhibited in Casablanca and Paris in 2017.

With the transdisciplinary project Untie to Tie, ifa Gallery Berlin invites visitors to take part in a discourse on colonial legacies, movement, migration and environment. The current phase, movement, encourages thinking beyond colonial borders—whether mental or territorial.

ifa-Galerie Berlin
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