KRISTYAN SARKIS
REACTIONS

Preview: Friday April 29, 17.00 - 21.00

Exhibition dates: 29 April - 11 June 2022

Art 3035 Gallery in collaboration with TPTQ Arabic is pleased to announce the opening of “Reactions”, a solo exhibition showcasing selected works by type designer and lettering artist Kristyan Sarkis.

The exhibition presents works conceived throughout Kristyan’s career and demonstrates his capability for structured designs that disclose a remarkable sense of wider humanity. The artist’s layered, meticulously constructed puzzles result from a spontaneous reaction to personal and social events.

The triptych The World Around Us (2021), is an intersection between Hind Eljadeed’s poetry and Kristyan Sarkis’ lettering. The subjects are diverse (gender equality, climate change and abusive relationships), clearly marked by the use of different Arabic writing styles for each of them; yet they are all linked by the intricate puzzle-like composition, a common approach for both artists in their relative practices. The project is part of TYYYPOËZIE, a traveling exhibition organised by Graphic Matters with the aim of promoting the encounter between poetry and typography.

The Covid series (2020-21), a sequence of lettering created as a way to cope with the unprecedented lock-downs and the consequences of the pandemic. It is largely observational towards the world as well as the artist’s journey, to make sense of the environment that surround us. Part of the project is also The Happy series, nine different words describe nuanced feelings of happiness, in an attempt to confront the reality with a more positive approach.

The Lebanese Revolution series (2019) is Kristyan’ reaction to the 17 October Revolution, a course of civil protests that took place in Lebanon. In 2019, Lebanese people took to the streets to protest the criminal corrupt government. The artist felt compelled to support, to be somehow present with his loved ones and to mark the events that hit him and many others hard. The series focuses on the unprecedented unity strongly felt across Lebanon before hopelessness crept back in.

The exhibition also showcases a range of complex designs that explore poetry, calligraphy, language and writing. Justice in the Wild (2018) draws inspiration from a quote by Lebanese poet Gibran Khalil Gibran ‘ليس في الغابات عدل’, “There is no justice in the wild” a commentary on the human justice in contrast that of nature; Birds on a tree (2019) refers to a popular Lebanese saying ‘عصفور بالايد ولا عشرة عالشجرة’, the equivalent of “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. Flipping the words بالايد/hand and شجرة/bush gives it a completely different meaning especially when taken literally. It becomes about captivity versus freedom. Bohemian Ideals (2018) sums up the artist’s ideals in life: Love, Freedom, Beauty and Truth; Language and Writing (2015) illustrates a quote from Lebanon letter artist Samir Al-Sayegh. It explores the unlimited expression of writing. “In language, letters have no emotions nor feelings. In writing, they suffer and rejoice and despair and they yearn”. Typographic Mashq (2012) is a modern reinterpretation of the calligraphic exercises that calligraphers perform while training. In line with Kristyan’s journey in designing Arabic type, this piece aims to bring aspects of the incredible wealth of the Arabic script heritage into a contemporary expression.