!n-Focus: Towards Photocopies Against Identities

Firstly, I want to apologize for not posting as often and keep track on what’s happening around, I was in Bilbao – Spain for International Leadership Program in Visual Art Management (ILPVAM) a three-module program organized by NYU, Deusto Business School & Guggenheim Museum; I successfully passed module one, the next module will be in New York, February 2014 & last model in Abu dhabi, April 2014. So I hope you excuse my short absence and bare with me in module two & three.


That being said… This month’s !n-Focus is a single artwork that caught my attention since the gallery sent press release last September and I had to pass by when I was in London to see it, and I was not disappointed because the actual painting was more captivating than e-image. The artwork is a transformation in the artist’s body of works, daring and unexpectable, a step many artists fail in it or don’t have the courage to do it, but when some succeed it is a Chapeau! I strongly believe it is the case with Syrian artist Khaled Takriti latest works exhibited at Ayyam Gallery – London “Complete Freedom”.


“The exhibition present a new body of mixed media and film works examining the validity of the term ‘freedom’ and its relationship to personal and group identity. 

Best known for his large-scale painted compositions exploring the psychology of their female subjects, the exhibition at Ayyam Gallery London marks a shift towards a largely monochromatic, graphic style and intimate subject matter. Employing and subverting both found images and his own photographs – most recently, those taken by the artist on the Paris Metro – Takreti’s collaged canvases are photographed, manipulated, reprinted, and then meticulously reworked through a process of drawing, cutting and painting. The process functions as a visual diary and a means of recording memory and charting time.”

Ayyam Gallery

The Photocopies VS. The Identity


Khaled Takreti, Photocopies, 2013, Acrylic on Canvas, 106 x 196 cm.


I had a discussion with a friend about this particular work, we both ended up agreeing that it is easier to be a follower than stand on your own, not necessary become a leader, but to stand as a unique individual who strongly backs up his beliefs and opinions in life. The artwork shows four roosters all posing the same with a cheesy laugh, all holding a device – my guesses it is a mobile – and speaking loudly while looking at you… Attention seekers much?! These roosters depict the duplicated personas we meet in our daily life; many people imitate each others style and way of speaking, body language further more interests and lifestyle seeking the new definition of attention; Popularity. This new kind of humans constantly follow any trend that will help them reach their goals of quick fame, whether it suites them or not they will jump in and act all the same, even if they deeply don’t believe in what they are doing or saying. Not to forget that it is easy to be a follower than independent.

This doesn’t only stops in appearance but also mythologies, ideologies and beliefs! Let me put it this way; it is headache-less to believe and do whatever a religious persona says and demands to do than to stop for a second, think and search whether his opinion is right or wrong and request is based on genuine resources. Same applies on political leaders, who take advantage of the unshaken faith of members thus obey to any request. More people are becoming ideas & habits consumers rather than inventors, losing their identity and becoming another copy of so-many-else.

The problem with these people is – like a fake artwork – they lack originality… No one was born identical – not ever twins – for a reason.


The Horn

Details from Khaled Takreti's "Photocopies"
Details from Khaled Takreti’s “Photocopies”


In between roosters stands a figure of human with bull mask on and wearing sleeves, similar to the ones a plastic surgeon would wear before operation… Hints?! Personally, this creature reflects hidden hands behind turning millions of people into consumers; could be media?! Picturing how fascinating and rewarding it is not to be different; name it “hands of evil” as every “photocopy” is simply a puppet. Moreover, he / she is wearing a mask to hide the true identity of main player, keeping it mysterious to public and it is the same in reality… Who knows who the real players are in any crisis we hear or face?!

What I couldn’t understand is the barcode on creature’s arm; what does it stand for? Does it mean their are more than one character who play this role?! Numbered? Obvious and hidden?! Is it actually a barcode or just a fashion statement perhaps?! I’d leave it open to your imagination and do share your conclusions.


The Transformation

I just want to show readers who are not familiar with Takreti’s work an example of his signature portraits to know what I mean with transformation; yes the style has changed but the symbols and figures remain.

 ‘Love Boat’ 2011

Khaled Takreti, 'Love Boat', 2011,  Acrylic on Canvas, , 195 x 260 cm. Courtesy: Ayyam Gallery
Khaled Takreti, ‘Love Boat’, 2011, Acrylic on Canvas, , 195 x 260 cm. Courtesy: Ayyam Gallery


‘Portrait’ 2011

Khaled Takreti 'Portrait' 2011 Acrylic on Canvas, 150 X 150 cm.
Khaled Takreti ‘Portrait’ 2011 Acrylic on Canvas, 150 X 150 cm.


Unfortunately, Complete Freedom was over October 4th, but if you are interested in viewing works from “Complete Freedom” and read more about Khaled Takreti, click here.


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