Sydney artist Khaled Sabsabi’s work reflects the complex and often fraught space of border identities, migrant territories and identity production.
Born in Lebanon, Sabsabi migrated with his family to Australia as a teenager in 1979 as refugees, due to the civil war in their homeland. Resort, Sabsabi’s first exhibition in New Zealand, conjures an ambiguous and dualistic viewing dynamic. Its title embodies a range of interpretations – to resort to violence, the last resort, to use something as a means of help or recourse, a place to rest or relax.
Sabsabi presents a site-specific installation comprised of three layered projections. The projections bleed into each other, creating often indistinct imagery that materializes in places, to take the shape of houses, towering apartment buildings, moving figures and organic, fleshlike forms. Predominantly shot in black and white, the visuals, recorded in both Lebanon and Australia, have the appearance of being shot on a night vision camera. This gives Resort an eerie quality, heightened by the atmospheric sound accompanying the piece.
Sabsabi challenges his viewers to dwell on his layers of representation, creating a site that offers a range of views of his world, highlighting its fractured and ever-changing nature.
– Caroline Vercoe