Elena El Asmar | Firenze, Italy, 1978
Elena El Asmar was born to Italian mother and Lebanese father. She spent most of her childhood traveling between Libano and Angola. Recent exhibitions include Galleria Bianconi (Milan, Italy), 2020 and 2018; Fondazione Palazzo Magnani (Reggio Emilia, Italy), 2018; Galleria MOO (Prato, Italy), 2016; and SRISA Gallery (Florence, Italy), 2013. El Asmar is among the founders of the artists’ organization Madeinfilandia and the exhibition venue COSMO space (Come Ogni Semplice Movimento Ortogonale, or Like Every Simple Orthogonal Movement).
Elena El Asmar work focuses on the themes of memory and she finds great inspiration in her childhood trips to Lebanon and Angola: culture, tradition, and landscape of both Middle East and Africa blend together in Elena El Asmar works. She was in fact born to Italian mother and Lebanese father, and has got an aunt from her father side living in Angola for most of her life. In particular, the artist had a strong relationship with her and she represented an important part of Elena El Asmar roots. When the artist settled herself in Italy, she kept memories of course, but also objects of her past in these countries that she keeps jealousy in her studio and which keep on feeding her eyes and imagination: “In the annual trips and in the continuous back and forth between Italy and my family in Lebanon and Angola, the exchanges of furniture, cups, utensils, spices’ scent become over time a custom and an attempt to keep alive, beyond the distance, the belonging to a place, both outside and inside me. Thus, in the studio where I work, objects stolen from my past lie scattered here and there, exalting my imagination."
The artist describes her work as a practice of the mind: the exercise of the distant, a task of reconstruction and revelation. Middle Eastern landscape appears suspended in a fairy-tale representation that clashes with the reality of contemporary scenarios colonized by European culture. The tapestries, the drawings, the sculpture, as well as the other works of painting, engraving and installation, all bear the imprint of this conflict.