Wandering Rider


Asad Azi’s paintings are a journey. This journey is not defined by a fixed trajectory from a stylistic or thematic starting point to a clearly defined finishing line, whose roots and branches can be identified from the outstart.
It is a garden of forking paths that one can enter through numerous thresholds, only to be swallowed up by its interesting trajectories – repeatedly reemerging in new directions.
A goal that is not defined a priori yet is nevertheless achieved. In some instances, the paintings seems to be organized around a temporal axis, so that the viewer finds himself delving into the artist’s private, familial and collective biography; in other instances, while we are still traveling along this same axis, a sharp turn in the road directs us towards the history of art – above all that of Western art. At times Azi draws our attention to the painting’s narrative dimension-that of telling a story; in other series, and sometimes even in the same series, he simultaneously focuses on deconstructing and reconstructing the underlying features of the medium. In some instances, the journey is directed westwards, to Europe and the United States; in other instances its roots are in the East, in the homeland extending between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, as well as in Syria, Lebanon, in Persia, and even in the Far East. Azi’s expanses of canvas or paper most often circumscribe a liminal sphere, an intermediate zone that lies between this and that while simultaneously encompassing this and that – a painting within a painting, a story within a painting within a story that does not hesitate to hesitate, to stutter out loud, to move backwards and sideways just as much as it thrusts itself forward.
The Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod is proud to host Asad Azi, one of Israel’s most prominent contemporary painters. Azi’s art making and personality challenge accepted definitions of painting, as well as of belonging and national identity, and engage with these definitions in a complex, dynamic and open-ended manner.
The exhibition “Asad Azi: Wandering Rider” is the fruit of a collaboration between the Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod and the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery. This collaboration, which has unfolded on the “northern axis” running between Wadi Ara, the Jazreel Valley and Shefaram, brings together institutions, individuals, communities and culture. We see this exhibition as the continuation of a wonderful friendship, and above all as an important station in the course of Asad Azi’s wanderings.

Asad Azi

Wandering Rider

Curator: Gilad Melzer

June-September 2015

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