Sarkissian Hrair (Syria)
Exhibition Title: Unfinished.
19th International Photography Meeting in Thessalonica-Greece.
Sarkissian Hrair was born in 1973 in Damascus Syria. From 1992 he started to work in a professional photographic laboratory in his home-town.
However his desire to increase his artisitic influences took him to France and more precisely the National Photography School in Arles (a town in the South of France).
His stay at this university was a relevation to him, as much for his artisitc approach as for his way of looking at photography.
He would pass hours at the libary of the school and he discovered for the first time in his life the most important photographers of the entire world.
It was during this period that he realised that photographic scene of Damascus was not enough for him.
For him the world of contemporary photography just did not exist in Syria, and on top of this the world of the nude was censored by highly powerful church in the country. Europe became quite simply the place of creation for Hrair.
The meetings with well known artists and famous photographers like Xavier Zimmermann and Sophie Ristelhueber were a major influence on his career as a photographer. He started to work with them during their visits to Syria (1998 to 2001).
Sarkissian became their personnal assistant and he helped the two photographers with the realisation of the individual photographic projects. This was a unique experience for the young photographer which opened many doors in terms of the contemporary photographic world. This experience allowed him to re-discover his own country the eyes of other artisits.
Since 2004, Sarkissian Hrair organises his artistic work between France and the Middle East, he has had exhibitions at the Museum of Conteporary Art in Jordan, at the International Festival at Arles, The Festival at Alep in Syria, or in Seville (Spain) with the exhibition entitiled Terres de Rêves (World of Dreams) which was organised by the associaton Ecume.
We met him at Thessaloniki (the second capital of Greece), before the opening of his personal exhibition (Unfinished). He remains quiet but happy to see this series of picures, shot in large format with exceptional quality.
He explained to us that in Damascus there was not a photographic laboratory capable of artistic quality prints. This is why he took these shots in Greece. He confirmed to us that : in Syria there are a lot of photogrpahers of marriages, but very few photograhers exhibit their own personnal works. I know only one or two who have the same desire as me to shoot a photographic series and to present these to the public.
The series Unfinished was done in different towns of the Middle East.
Sarkissian Hrair has photographed buildings under construction in cities where we are more used to seeing images of war and destruction.
The series can be described as photographic architecture ; man is absent before coming to live in these places.
This along with the natural light that Sarkissian uses in his photographes, helps off-set the empty spaces and form a perfect geometry with the construction works.
The buildings of the Middle East have almost become antique monuments, because Hrair photographs with the sensibilities of an artist and not a casual passer-by.
The history of photography in Syria has a long tradition in the world of architecture and archeology. In all ways the work of Unfinished goes beyond this traditional vision.
He abandons this classic form and it’s structured style, and his work becomes even more interesting due to the total abscence of any essence of Orientalisme.
Syria is a country that finds itself at the centre of this artistic movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. However Sarkissian avoids this approach and introduces us to a new style of architectural photography, because he does not photograph the final result, but the building work in progress.
He is a most promising artist who produces personnal, intimate work in a world of contemporary photography without frontiers.
This is why, FineArtTv is pleased to help you to discover his works that reveal the world’s open spaces in a different light.