Joseph Harb


The figure, in Harb’s exhibition, occupies the central plinth. Defragmented, re-narrated and assembled in different iterations to make this very personal oeuvre. These ensembles, ‘trials’, as Joseph Harb intimately refers to them, remain ‘nothing definitive’. ‘They are only promising answers…  possibilities’ in the eye of the artist. Yet, upon the contemplation of the works, every element seems to have found its precise place structurally and pictorially; as they stand in “totems”, paintings, assemblage works and sculptures.   

 
 These accumulations always attain a final refinement between Harb’s hands. He has mastered the art of assemblage and, in his own particular way, he has explored and opened new venues of exploration in this genre of visual thinking: between fragmentation, creativity and expression.

 

The ‘narratives’ of Joseph Harb speak of his ever shifting time/space. They speak of being here and now. They are attempts, constructs, or rather, reinstatements of his ‘Today’

‘I have a great respect and enthusiasm for what is to come, the future. It will definitely be better than the present.’ Harb challenges his own ‘narrative’. Art making is a necessity for him.  

This exhibition, with its varied facets, is his personal way of defying the anguish of being left behind… This existential question, that many Lebanese has endured throughout the war period…  Having to be ready to take what is absolutely necessary and run to safety, at any time…

And here again, for Harb everything is necessary, all the bits and pieces, the fragments that make his ‘present, his past’ and glimpse the future. Harb creates more of them, multiplies them, makes copies and variation of them. Then, he offers them on the altar of art: as a witness the tragedy of the human figure and the strife against oblivion.    

 

 

                                                                                      Hanibal Srouji