SAMSTAG ALUMNI 2001

Fassih Keiso
Born 1956, Syria

The work of Fassih Keiso is located at the point of tension between MiddleEastern Islamic and Western perceptions of the body and sexuality. Using computergenerated photobased imagery, his work characteristically fragments the nude female body into a repetitive patterned schema, reminiscent of traditional Islamic patterning but also referencing the grid of Western geometric abstraction.

The detail of these images is bizarre, body parts are divided and flipped into mirror images, inverted and multiplied as in a kaleidoscope. The resultant mounds and bilateral folds are sexually suggestive, reminiscent of seventies feminist 'central core' imagery, but pumped up, hysterical and macabre.

From one point of view the work suggests a play on the Islamic injunction against the representation of the human figure, and a parodic comment on the sublimation of sexual desire into ornament. On the other hand, these mutant bosomy folds, bejewelled and sequined, could be read as parodying the Western fantasy of orientalism as a kind of pornography. The meaning of this work lies somewhere in the crossing between cultures.

Robyn McKenzie from her Samstag catalogue essay, Art and Research
 
2001 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2001 Non-degree Research Program, New York University, New York, USA 
1998 Master of Fine Arts (Research), Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne 
1983 Post Graduate Diploma in Theatre & TV Design, Institute of Fine Art, University of Lebanon 
1982 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Art, University of Lebanon