Solo Show Horizons
“What does Abstraction mean? Everything is natural as the surfaces intertwine and intersect in the light for an inner/outer representation that nature always ends up taking over.” (Asma M’Naouar)
Horizons expands on Asma M’Naouar’s career-long investigation into abstraction through movement, materiality and emotion. The exhibition reflects the act of painting and the primacy of light through a selection of new and recent works that explore the complexities of both our world and the inner self. Over her more than thirty-year career, Asma M’Naouar’s practice shows the representation of a non-visible world, as well as the intense gestural and emotional physicality of painting.
Asma M’Naouar’s practice departs from the tradition of easel painting and oil techniques, extending her work into abstraction and gestural painting. In her work, M’Naouar aims to experiment with the creative process itself within the act of pure painting, while expanding upon anthropological perspectives on the memory and trace. Primarily concerned with light, colour and space, M’Naouar’s work represents an attempt to transcend both the material and the surface, showing similarities to the Abstract Expressionists, particularly Jackson Pollock’s action painting process. Also, her densely textured compositions include scratched marks, like graffiti evoke the informalism of Antoni Tàpies’ work, the Catalan figure of Art Informel, and the evocative power of his matter paintings.
“At fifty-six years old, I realize that in my painting, the many different layers of colours that I relentlessly superimpose on the canvas, the invitation to the gaze to penetrate the work by scratching the surface and intense gestural movements that engage physically and emotionally are only a natural glide towards brighter horizons.” (Asma M’Naouar)
“I have been painting for more than thirty-five years with rather academic diligence, showing clearly that the act of painting has become my act of survival.” (Asma M’Naouar, 2021)
Tunisian born, Asma M’Naouar graduated in Aesthetics and Arts Science from the Institut des Beaux-arts of Tunis in 1988, before she pursued her academic training in Italy at the Rome Art Academy in 1993. Awarded many artist residency grants, she stayed in Switzerland, France and Lebanon. Then, she settled in Italy in 2002, where she completed her Master in Conservation at Palazzo Spinelli in Florence. She was awarded various prizes, including the 1st Prize of the critic Giordano Bruno in Solerno, Italy, in 1993 and the First Golden Prize at the Biennale of Kuwait in 1996. In 1999, she was awarded the 1st Prize for Visual Art by the Ministry of Culture in Tunisia.
Since 1996, Asma has been regularly exhibiting at Elmarsa Gallery, where she had her latest solo exhibition in June 2014. She took part in numerous group shows. She exhibited her work in galleries, museums and biennials in North Africa, Europe and the Middle East: such as Sharjah Biennale (1995); Palazzo Svevo Bari, Italy (1998); the National Museum of Art in Kaunas/Lithuania (2003); Municipal museum of Pultsk in Poland (2004); the Arab World Institute in Paris (2008); Dar El Founoun in Tunis, Algiers, Rabat (2008); and the Palais Namaskar in Marrakech. She also participated in the itinerant exhibition Un Autre Regard in Tunis in 2000 and 2004 in Switzerland. She took part in international art forums as a guest speaker at the Global Art Forum at Art Dubai and the Palais Namaskar in Marrakech. In 2015, she took part in the travelling exhibition All the World’s a Mosque in Carthage, Tunisia, curated by Lina Lazaar. Her works are part of many public and private collections, including The Foundation Pietro Caporella in Rome, the Center Rachid Karamé in Tripoli, Lebanon and the Ministry of Culture in Tunisia and private collections in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.