Serge Najjar’s approach to photography is intuitive. It derives from his passion for modern and contemporary art. He easily references Kazimir Malevich’s “Architectons”, Josef Albers’ abstract compositions, Robert Mangold and Ellsworth Kelly, and also Lygia Clark, Aurélie Nemours, Frank Stella and Sol Lewitt. The graphic approach of the Russian Avant-garde and, specifically, Alexander Rodchenko catches Najjar’s interest early on his career: deciphering the image and its construction will come to guide the structure of his future endeavours.
Serge Najjar’s pictures place the viewer within a world where reality and fantasy meet. They capture the passing of time, or a space where the transient disposition of man would inhabit ideal radical constructions. Motionless variations on a theme, the photographs engage in a dialogue, complete each other or not, but always create a singular space that is inhabited by the onlooker within the space they are presented in.
In a sort of backward movement, Najjar uses photography in the digital age while adhering to an approach that embraces the formal rigour better known from analog photography. Always on foot across the city, the photographer tracks down architecture, surfaces and “ordinary” shapes which when seen from unusual angles appear as surreal figures. One click and the concert of the outdoors is frozen into evidence.
Shadow and light, passerby, subject, worker; thus architecture and man stay on the edge of abstraction. This is where we find the formal language of the photographer. By appropriating the principles of capture of immediate reality, where direct photography is only possible thanks to the distance of the subject, and the photographer too.
Whether colour or black and white photographs, Najjar’s body of images forms a coherent sum that emerges instantly, without mediation, as a dance between flatness and depth. Careful, calm, without outcry, the photographer plays with elements that are readily available. Shadows become geometric sculptures; three dimensional shapes morph into planes. Perspectives tilt, the image is constructed, reality is cut, riffled through and rebuilt by the lines that surround us.
Serge Najjar is represented by Galerie Tanit Beirut/Munich.