Wassily Kandinsky depicted music, his synaesthesia leading him to paint sounds, whereby the different shades mirrored musical notes. From 1910, the year of his first abstract artwork, the Russian artist persisted in attempting to illustrate sound.
Rooted and inspired by Kandinsky’s style, Omar Hassan depicts the passage of time, an occurrence invisible to the naked eye.
For some years, the artist has been positioning uncut and pristine canvases on the walls and floors of his Milan studio, while working on his other canvases.
Thus, the walls that hold the canvases are covered with sprays of colour, geometric shapes achieved from spray paints, lines and dots. The floor gathers all these prints, drips of paint, the residual colours from other works and his experimentations with paint.
These layers accumulate on top of one another, creating an abstract story of the laborious hours dedicated to the creation of the work, as well as the artist’s moments of non-attendance; the minutes become colours, his absences shown by unused sections left white.
Just as the music in Kandinsky’s artworks, the passage of time, an essential goodness for us, manifests before our eyes in Hassan’s artworks, creating casual compositions of colours, movements, shapes and empty spaces.
The artist has named this series “L’Essenziale è Invisibile agli Occhi” (“The Essential is Invisible to the Eyes”), aptly named after a famous quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.
Omar Hassan follows in the footsteps of the great abstract master, attempting to render visible the invisible, to present before us the essential.
Some of the artworks created during these lapses of time are exhibited along the walls of the Orangerie. The artist’s work and time are manifested by the dripping of the spray paint within his “Injections” series, his powerful paintings from his “Breaking Through” sequence, and his “Caps” mosaics composed of used caps from spray paint cans. Studying the relation between painting, sculpture and space, Hassan exhibits a plaster cast of Venus of Milo camouflaged into a multi-coloured canvas. All of Hassan’s artworks are autobiographical, recounting his multicultural heritage, escaping any easy stylistic categorization, while encapsulating his passion for boxing and on-going battle with diabetes. The Chapel at the end of the Orangerie marks the exhibition’s final and new installation: a methodically organised collection of diabetic medication, personal to the artist, collected over many years.
All that has always been kept back, hidden behind the scenes, in his life just like in his art, is now brought forth to become the absolute focus.