A Closer Look at the Ordinary, an exhibition of works by photographer, Serge Najjar, at Beirut’s Galerie Tanit, sees the Lebanese photographer explore man’s place in the urban environment, transforming the concrete forms of modern architecture and it’s interplay with light, into playful scenes and abstractions.
His approach to photography is intuitive, deriving from his passion for modern and contemporary art. A fondness for abstractionism is particularly evident as he traverses cities, with Beirut a recurrent muse, to take of the moment captures. Beirut and other cities captured by Najjar are revealed in beautiful minimalism and inspiration colour, and the photographer’s breathtaking work has amassed a sizeable Instagram following as a result.
Najjar plays with elements that are readily available. Shadows become geometric sculptures; three dimensional shapes morph into planes. Perspectives tilt, the image is constructed, reality is cut, riffled through and rebuilt by the lines that surround us.
His pictures place the viewer within a world where reality and fantasy meet. They capture the passing of time, or a space where the transient disposition of man inhabits the urban space. He uses photography in the digital age, while adhering to an approach that embraces the formal rigour analog photography. Always on foot across the city, the photographer tracks down architecture, surfaces and ‘ordinary’ shapes that when seen from unusual angles appear as surreal figures.
The artist easily references Kazimir Malevich’s ‘Architectons’, Josef Albers’ abstract compositions, Robert Mangold and Ellsworth Kelly, and also Lygia Clark, Aurélie Nemours, Frank Stella and Sol Lewitt. The graphic approach of the Russian Avant-garde and, specifically, Alexander Rodchenko catches Najjar’s interest early on his career; deciphering the image and its construction will come to guide the structure of his future endeavours.
A Closer Look at the Ordinary runs until 31 March at Galerie Tanit, Beirut.
All photography kindly via Serge Najjar / Galerie Tanit