Signed in Arabic and dated '2000' (lower right)
Christie's / Lot 226 / International Modern and Contemporary Art / 1 February 2007 / Dubai
Private collection, Dubai
Khaled Ben Slimane is a renowned sculptor and painter whose artistic practice comes from his quest for spirituality. His creative pursuit spanned the gamut of exploration; from time, the universe, space, and the mystical quality of symbols and signs. He reutilized traditional ways and materials such as canvas, bronze, wood, paper, and ceramics.
Hailing from Tunisia, he's one of the numerous artists from the region that explored the precise dimension of signs and symbols, drawing from Berber motifs and the rich Islamic heritage. Traditionally, the symbols were painted on walls of villages and homes for their healing quality and to embody magical attributes that guard against evil and misfortunes.
By invoking their aesthetic qualities, using them in organic compositions or expanding on their mystical properties, he combines traditional symbols from the Berber culture with Andalusian themes to create abstract work that references the past and present.
Here, employing graphism Slimane synthesize new symbols from old forms to produce new meanings in a distinctive style reflective of his interest in different cultures. Also present in this work are his signature elements - the calligraphy that gives movement to his work and the repetitive colors - ochre and gold which were inspired by the masters he worked with in the past and contribute to his overall composition.
Born in Sousse, Tunisia in 1951, Slimane is one of the major contemporary artists in Tunisia as well as in the Arab world. He graduated from the Escola Massana of Barcelona in 1977 and the Technological Institute of Art in Tunis in 1982. Two years later, he began to learn ceramics in Barcelona. He traveled a lot, notably in Tokyo where he completed an eight-month residency at the Idemetsu Tokyo Museum and studied the national treasures of Japan and inevitably developed a passion for the arts in the Far East countries. In 1990, Ben Slimane was elected as a member of the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva. His works have been exhibited beside works by maestros like Miro, Picasso, and Artigas. His works are part of various private and public collections including the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, Idemitsu Museum of Arts in Tokyo, the British Museum, and the Benaki Museum in Athens. In 1990, he became the first Arab to be invited to become a member of the Academie Internationale de la Ceramique in Geneva. He received several awards including the Prize of National Culture in Tunisia, the International “Grand Prix” of Ceramic in Vietri Sul Mare, Italy in 2002.
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