VINCENT ABADIE HAFEZ
In a choreography showing a virtuoso-like ease, Vincent Abadie Hafez "Zepha" composes a ritual score that frees the letter from its semiotic restraint, thus keeping only the essence of a certain kind of aesthetics, the cultural bearing of a symbol. Interlacing characters of mixed origins give structure to a multiplicity of contrasts. Formal logic and confusion in lines, instinctive pragmatism and gestures, the anchoring point is embodied in the movement, and the abstraction emerging from it. The whole unfolds a condensed rhythmic, galvanized by regular spaces, silent, and sometimes even unsuspected breathings, revealing a demanding and involving artwork. The gesture is technical, legatee of ancestral calligraphic practices and is being enriched by an urban context, contrasting and unexpected, so essential to the artist.
If the writing keeps a trace, the urban implantation increases the ephemeral dimension. This secondary paradox is being exploited in parallel through the creation of palimpsests artworks, requiring the intervention of the spectator to unveil the artist’s creation by scratching off a layer of latex applied over it. Wear and tear, degradation, marks of time inflicted to the artwork are then echoing the artist’s primal practice, graffiti, though giving an implicit reflection alluding the impact of Man on space and time and more widely, the part they are to play in the evolution of the interpersonal relations in our contemporary societies. As it creates an authentic dialog between preserving ancestral arts (traditional calligraphy, etching, marquetry), enhanced by a modern and popular approach, his endeavour makes sense when it spreads a trans-civilizational legacy, breeding ground to the construction of a future where it is allowed to dream, to have faith in mankind and its ability to overcome divisions.
A nomadic artist, he finds recognition and respect in the eyes of the founders of urban/abstract calligraphy and takes part in must-be events of the international artistic scene (recently with the “Concrete alphabets” exhibition in San Francisco, commissioned by the artist Poesia, and later at the “Jidar - Toiles de rue” festival in Rabat, during which is mural was one of the flagship interventions). The imbrication of Arabic shapes and Latin characters writes the premises of a collective history, of a timeless language, of an abstraction to be interiorized. Our alphabets, as disparate as they may be, hold a unifying significance, transcending the origins of each of us. To calligraph in order to unite, Zepha’s work is impregnated with his values, like an incantation to what is universal, a contemporary humanism induced by the power of the symbol, common foundation to civilizations, revealed by an art going beyond all frontiers, all alterity.