Kalakriti Art Gallery presents ‘Utopia’, a solo exhibition of paintings by Yassine Balbzioui. Yassine’s works are very expressive. His paintings have darkness in them and the figures emerge from within towards a mysterious light as if he is discovering something out of the dark & unknown. His works are reactions and reflections of his immediate surroundings. Yassine is a good visual story teller and each of his paintings have story in it. The artist stitches different time and space in his paintings. For example, his painting titled ‘Fountain Blow’, while his journey from Bordeaux to India in the British Airways, he saw a man blowing water from his mouth. As he saw it triggered a different kind of image which is volcano coming out of the mountain.
Yassine has the art of depicting greater thoughts with small small presentations. In his paintings, one can observe playfulness in use of images. He brings two extreme elements together to create a drama. The painting titled ‘Green Twins’ which the artist is inspired from his visit to the Salarjung Museum has two men wearing the royal Nizam’s clothes and jewelleries. The painting ‘L’Architect’, according to the artist this painting is about the moment when the man comes out from his sleep with his night wear, and sits on the tree and wanders the architectural structures which already is existing in the nature.
‘Good students go to heaven’, where there are six boys, looks to be wearing school uniforms and holding school bags, is a scene from a movie. There is an element of drama in this work. ‘Greensight’, shows a boy sitting on an Ostrich bird holding a water gun, in jungle but can never fight. This water gun is a symbol of harmless violence. The arrangement of elements creates an interesting semiotics.
Masks are one of the important characteristics in Yassine’s paintings. We all wear masks every time in our life. The extent to which we overlay ourselves varies greatly. The masks we wear are fine tuned and adorned on ourselves how we like the world to see us. The masks Yassine uses in his artworks are of butterflies, chameleon, fish, frogs etc.
His series of watercolours are based on the famous Arabic tale Kalila Wa Dimna, which is similar to Indian Panchatantra stories where animals are the protagonist of the stories and these stories end up telling morals to the society. Yassine reinterprets these stories in his paintings and tries to prove their relevance to the contemporary society.
Yassine is a very experimentalist artist. He experiments lot with the art forms, and also makes an artistic and political statement. In one of his interactive performance titled ‘Le Voyage De Twin Freaks’, where people are carrying one of his paintings and roaming around the city on the footpath, market, seashore, etc. By doing this, he is trying to say once artist finishes the painting, the painting gets new life; it automatically gets detached from the artist. According to the artist the painting now becomes the responsibility of the society. By this experiment, he wanted to record reactions of various people for his painting. At the end, he instructs people to destroy the artwork. The reason is well known to Yassine of course.
Yassine’s paintings & performances invite a viewer to be a part of the story.
About the Artist
Yassine Balbzioui born in 1972 is a Moroccon and French multidisciplinary artist who works across many disciplines to produce extravagant, theatrical and energetic performances. He was trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca, at Art College of Bordeaux and at the University of Berkeley in California, USA.
Balbzioui is quite well known worldwide, he has exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions internationally, including the Biennale Danse l’Afrique, Bamako in 2010; the 7th Berlin Biennial in 2010; Galerie Talmart, Paris in 2012 and CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux in 2013. He lives and works in Paris and Bordeaux.