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Anwar Azzi's Clouded Mirror

A new collaborative exhibition featuring the Lebanese photographer explores the worlds of mankind and society in Paris

Anwar Azzi has forced the ignored reflection of mankind and society to be realized. The aspects of humanity and society which are all too readily neglected are now being displayed upon the streets of Paris in a new collaborative exhibition by the S. Bensimon Gallery this Summer. The artist does not intend to inflict his personal views upon the bystanding Parisians’, but to present artworks as catalysts of personalised inferences. Azzi uses the idea that art can never be neutral, in that if an image can only exist when viewed, and will always be read though the eyes of the otherwise influenced spectator, therefore tainting even ‘pure art’, in order to impose self-examination within the spectator who dares to read his stunning series of photographs.

Dazed Digital: What do you hope to illuminate by capturing the unperceived?
Anwar Azzi: I tend to think of the “unperceived” as the invisible intervenient hand that would eventually reveal itself. Intangibly speaking.

DD: Are your works a reflection on humanity?
Anwar Azzi: An image is a single silent frame that can tell a thousand words. I’m thoroughly obsessed with silence. Stillness. Contemplation. In the “Clouded Mirror” opuses, I ask Man to take a daring look at himself, while standing still. Alone. Introspectively. Spiritually. I focus on those never-ending inner journeys, where revelations can be sought and ultimately found. Where needs and wants are no longer part of the equation. By using existing and real spaces tainted with instant graphical representations of near-non-human matter, I try to raise some existential issues worth being confronted with.

DD: Are your photos tainted by your own perceptions of humanity?
Anwar Azzi: Some documentaries I did could serve as a testimony on social actualities. But I don’t feel the urge to comment on human condition through all of my works. Many gifted observers are already on that wagon giving us daily food for thought. I’d rather have the spectator captivated by some sort of poetic vision or prophetic revelation. I use expressionistic narratives to dream, far away from trivial commentaries. So yes, my photographs are in that sense tainted by my own perceptions of humanity. Undoubtedly.

DD: If your works are evident of the inner workings of the spectator, are they also revealing of their creator?
Anwar Azzi: As any narcissistic work of art, they reveal far more that one would want to tell. That I’m a solitary dreamer perhaps… Just like everybody else.

DD: Is your background evident in your work?
Anwar Azzi: As a Lebanese, my background is an inherent part of who I am. It might come across in my work, I am not sure how, but it is unintentional. However what I’m certain of is, that my work is neither the outcome of a “post-war syndrome”, nor a depiction of one either.

DD: What do you intend to show to the audience?
Anwar Azzi: I don’t see art as a demonstrative process. I yearn for the multiplicity of perceptions through the multi dimensional interpretations of an artwork. I overheard last week two ladies commenting over one of my photographs called “Alone you stand”, during the opening of the latest exhibition “Clouded Mirror Opus I”. The picture features a ghostly human figure standing still in a pseudo-apocalyptic room. A luminous window surrounds him from behind. One lady felt she was being shown the archives of some great war, the other saw elements of spiritual elevation. To me that anonymous soldier standing firm in the light is a reflection of our inner-selves. It’s my way of saying: we are our own icons.

Azzi’s works will be on display at Gallery S. Bensimon, 111 rue de Turennes - 75003 Paris