Building on the success of the artist’s first solo show Fall of Europe II that took place at Gallery Different last year, PUBLIC: Gallery & Studio is delighted to present P.O.V, C.K, T.V, the second solo exhibition of London based artist Tarek Sebastian Al-shammaa.
Born and raised in London to French and Iraqi parents, Al-shammaa grew up straddling these two distinctive cultures infusing his work with a melting pot of ideas. He creates eye-catching and evocative compositions that engage with history and are injected with a piercing overtone of the contemporary. The exhibition will present a new body of work which explores the sadism of pop culture and the lurid commercial world, observing life’s capitulations on a great scale.
Within these portraits and haunting narratives recurring themes include consumerism, corruption, love, lust, addiction, sobriety and mortality. Remixing classic photos of celebrities and personal anecdotes, Al-shammaa’s work maintains an element of ambiguity, encouraging viewers to question what they see and draw out multiple interpretations. The titles indicate the poignant context of each piece and are often linked to specific events, pop culture icons or taken from iconic songs and films.
Al-shammaa’s subject matter utilises appropriated images from a variety of sources including old magazines, 1960s calendars and the ongoing stream of TV; generally sparked by an unconscious and spontaneous selection of ideas rather than any preconceived concepts about content or value. With these cues as a basis he relies on a raw, unfiltered style of painting that draws attention to the act of making itself, recently expanding his practice to monolith-like sculptures that embrace the new in an ancient found artefact.
Working mainly on a large-scale, Al-shammaa’s work ruminates on past capitulations while also engaging with contemporary struggles. He inadvertently encourages us not to make the same mistakes as our predecessors, but in this age of increasing anxiety, uncertainty, and alienation teases us with the inevitability of our choices.