“Jericho First” takes its theme from an image found in an eighth-century mosaic floor, fully excavated in Jericho, depicting a lion attacking a fleeing gazelle. Borrowing its title from the name of the first stage of the Oslo Accord, the work articulates a connection between the violent hunting scene and the peace agreements. The work uses a serially changing computerized procedure to transform the natural scene of the mosaic, a typical flora and fauna image in Islamic art, to produce two series of metamorphoses in which the lion and its prey become one form. In the first, the lion attacking its predator is slowly expanded into a giant red bubble, so that one sees neither predator nor prey. In the second, the image stretches and narrows into an insect-like hybrid. The overtly aggressive and violent image from the mosaic is in this way manipulated and transformed so that the aggression is now masked and appears as unity and cooperation. While the mythical violent image lurks in both series, their metamorphoses deliver them away from the mythical origin almost to the point of disappearance.
Born in Nazareth and living in Israel–Palestine and the United States, SHARIF WAKED reflects on power, politics, and aesthetics. Piercing the absurd realities of conflict, his work shapes junctures between urgent moments of the present and living references from the past. He has shown at numerous exhibitions such as the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Queens Museum, New York; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Jeu de Paume, Paris; KW, Berlin; Aix-en-Provence Museum, France; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Singapore Art Museum; Warsaw Museum, Poland; Gallery of Modern Art, Australia; Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile; and the Carrousel du Louvre, Paris. http://sharifwaked.info
Sharif Waked; Jericho First. Critical Times 1 August 2019; 2 (2): 338–345. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/26410478-7708395
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