Clay and Bronze
A text by Ghada AlBaher
Artists develop over the course of their lives, their methods becoming more intricate and their skills increasingly sophisticated. However, occasionally, an artist is able to shed his acquired aesthetic education and regress to an instinctual and automatic process, unhindered by the burden of training or expectation. Through his clay reliefs, Fadi Yazigi achieves just that.
Clay is a modest and plentiful material used by artists and builders alike. However, despite its’ rather prosaic pedigree, Yazigi succeeds in moulding this clay to convey movement and emotion, and ultimately a unique and powerful vision of humanity.
The figures in Fadi Yazigi’s clay reliefs have a childlike honesty and purity, distilled of artifice and sophistry. His unrefined human figures protrude from their backgrounds, bearing the stupefied smiles of blissful ignorance or the vacant stare of desolation. In some of these clay reliefs the figures appear burdened by the weight, both physically and metaphorically, of their fellow human being. Human interaction portrayed in these works is invariably strained. The figures are conjoined in a stifling and overwhelming relationship, with one person usually carrying the other. In the only clay relief where humans are actually embracing, the embrace is anguished and while one partner clings desperately, the other pulls back attempting to escape. However, Yazigi’s figures do appear at peace occasionally, talking to a bird or reclining beside a dog. Their gaiety surfaces only in solitude, never in the presence of a fellow human being.
Although these works are a terrible indictment of humanity and what it has become, they also offer a glimmer of what might be possible. These flesh-like relief sculptures and their layered contours, convey a sense of the primeval, unsophisticated beauty of humanity inherent in our basic nature but which is often subsumed by the drudgery and oppression of modern life.
Fadi Yazigi’s clay reliefs define his autonomous vision. These crudely formed figures carry a genuine power and a savage beauty that far exceeds their representational allure. They create in one’s mind an indelible image of a world that is strangely familiar but frighteningly strange, offering a unique document of Man and his condition.