PORTRAITS OF SYRIAN MEN
26 August 2012, Cervera de los Montes
I spent few nights going through internet dating sites looking for Syrian men. Actually I wanted to find Syrian women too but it seems that they don't announce a lot and very rarely with their photos.
Now I have 120 printed profiles of Syrian men looking for women. They are neatly placed in three transparent Muji folders and will be part of my solo show Syria Study Center at Korjaamo Galleria, Helsinki, which opens the 13th of September.
Kareem is the perfect man when you are looking for respect and love.
Zezo is very romantic.
Dentist loves science, friendship and partying.
Ghassan is friendly, honest, respectable, understanding, truthful and God fearing.
Mohammad is looking for a beautiful and intelligent girl who would help him to achieve his goal - to be a general manager of a big company and live with his loved one.
Hashem is a hot and sexy man.
Wassim is a divorced chef who likes women, art and TV.
Nadim wants an honest and good girl, the outside looks don't matter to him.
Wasel likes sport, traveling, never drinks or smoker but finds it difficult to talk about himself.
Mohamad has been working in Dubai and thinks that now it's time to get married.
Walid wants is looking for a domina to lick her shoes
Anas tries to be a good man. He likes hunting and taekwondo. He is looking for a woman to get married.
Medos is a fashion designer who likes horseback riding, swimming and shooting
Usama is a handsome young man with white skin and a muscular body. He adores cougars.
Safwat wants to meet a Swedish woman.
PUSSY WEAPON OF THE CIA
20 August 2012, Cervera de los Montes
Pussy Riot is sexy both in the looks and the content. Pussy Riot does what, in my opinion, the artists shoul do in the society. And Pussy Riot is a perfect weapon in the service of the CIA.
I never imagined that I would be backing Putin's cleptocratic government but at the moment it seems that Russia is the most important global defender of human rights in the world. Obviously, I'm referring to the Syrian crisis, where Russia stands with president Bashar al-Assad's government fighting against the Islamist rebellion trying to save the secular and multireligious society.
I wish all the international celebrities supporting Pussy Riot could see the big picture. The West tries to delegitimize in all possible ways the international role of Russia in the global game and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's beauty is a perfect weapon for it. She is bigger than Lady Gaga. She is bigger than James Bond.
The Western politicians, intellectuals and rock stars are totally convinced of the superiority of their values. They enjoy of telling how badly Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba treat their people but nobody in these "evil" countries tell to the West how to manage their things. In my vocabulary it's called a colonialist attitude.
I love pussy too but there are much more crucial (let me use this Christian word) things going on in the world against the human rights and freedom.
SAINT ROCH BLESS SYRIA
17 August 2012, Cervera de los Montes
It's the holiday month in Spain and we celebrate the fiesta of our village in honor of San Roque. The fiesta last a week and includes dancing, concerts, games, bull fighting and religious service.
When my kids give a few minutes of free time, I'm putting together the ideas for my show Syria Study Center at Korjaamo Gallery which opens September 13th. It's my fifth solo exhibition at Korjaamo since 2007, when we did Let's Happy Life - Sparkling Girl Brings about a Revolution, a showcase of my Japanese works done during and after my residency at Arts Initiative Tokyo. It has been a long way from Japan to Syria.
Syria Study Center will be full of information - I want it to look like a place to learn and interpret things, not like an elegant art exhibition. It will consist of Syria for Dummies and Syrian Democracy slideshows, one of them exhibited in an cardboard box construction, my Syrian drawings, the lists done by the participants of my workshop at Le Pont Organization in Aleppo and then some material that will be available on a table that has also a CD player with Syrian patriotic songs praising president Bashar al-Assad. The table was Timo's idea and it will give a real study center feeling to the installation. Timo is the artistic director of the gallery and has always played an important role in all of my shows at the venue. At the moment, we haven't yet decided what the study materials are. Maybe I go through dating sites looking for Syrian girls and boys when my family goes out to the plaza to dance. The love doesn't die even in war.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
10 August 2012, AY3183 Helsinki - Madrid
After working the week in Finland, it's nice to travel in style in the better side of the curtain sipping champagne and single malt whisky. As a business class passenger you can check-in two pieces of baggage, so it's also the only way to ship all the toys my mother sends to my son. The hardest part of the week wasn't installing the show in Pukkila but the two days I spent in Helsinki networking which means lunches, dinner and lots of drinks with colleagues, curators and collectors.
I had an important meeting at Korjaamo Galleria with Raoul and his crew. Next month, we'll do a show called Syria Study Center. I really appreciate my gallerist. I don't imagine any other commercial gallery in Helsinki programming a show about Syria at the moment. Furthermore, Raoul is a Jew which understandably can make him suspicious about the Syrian government and I have positioned myself in the side of the secular and multi-religious society and constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic. I said to Raoul that the gallerist and the artist don't have to agree about the politics. Anyways, my show will be ambiguous although as a public person I'll do all the propaganda I can to fight against the Islamist rebellion imported to Syria.
SUMMER SHANTY SHOWS
08 August 2012, Pukkila
I've been staying in Sari's place. She's my curator. There is no hotel in Pukkila but, in any case, I like it this way. Sari cooks for me and I play chess with her ten-year-old daughter.
Exhibiting in Pukkila has been exactly as I imagined. The mayor came to shake hands when I arrived and there was a line of journalist from all the four newspapers of the area. Each of them interviewed me for one hour.
Koivulinna, the exhibition venue, is not a white cube but a shack that can collapse any moment. I don't know if I can show the photos to anybody, people would think that the bubbling wallpapers are part of my installation. This summer I have been specializing in shanty shows - also the space of All Art Now in Damascus was a run-down building, even before the war in Syria.
ART FOR PEASANTS
03 August 2012, Cervera de los Montes
I'm going tomorrow to Pukkila, a village with a population of two thousand located in the Southern Finland. I'm going to do a show called The Feasibilty Study of Turbo-Capitalism at their small public art gallery Koivulinna.
My neighbor Luis asked does it make any sense to exhibit in so tiny and periferic place. We ourselves live even in a smaller village but he is used to drive me sometimes to airport when I'm going to big cities. Berlin and Beijing have a magcial sound in their names but the reality is in many cases different. Last year, I did a show in Paris, there were maybe 25 people in the opening and supposedly few more people saw the works afterwards. Nobody wrote about the exhibition and no works were sold.
I don't think that Pukkila will be comercially significant but I'm sure that a half of the population of the municipality and many summer tourists will see my works. I'll be for a couple of days a real super star in the village. I'm a revolutionary artist and I have to do art for masses and all the classes. I have to target my works not only to urban population but also to peasants.
Luckily, I have time to stop one night in Helsinki to have dinner and some gin and tonics with my artist and capitalist friends, before penetrating the Finnish country side.