Offerings to the Altar: Ritualistic Still Life - 2019
When working on a still life, the artist will gather different items to compose a scene to be portrayed. In the process, new items can be introduced and other items may be dismissed as the artist prepares the composition.
For this exhibition, Tarek Mourad prepared a still life where different items were hot-glued to a shoe box, making it unchangeable and transportable. This is the “Nature Morte Prêt à Emporter”. Where once the artist would select items to place in the still-life, now we have a still life that can be placed into different contexts.
In a hope to break the banality that is inherent to this form of art, the artist explored the dialectic of the still life with portrait and with landscape. In this process, Mourad allowed for the breakdown of the elements in his original composition as well as the introduction of different elements, like the skeleton of a dead bird, a cat, an arrangement of obelisks offered to an obsolete deity and even the human body.
In our origins, art was produced with a cultic value. Art was made for the gods and later for God. In so, its cultic existence was more important that it being viewed. The “Nature Morte Prêt à Emporter" is an object of ritual, however, its purpose is to allow for its representation in different settings and with different mediums. The “Painting of a Photograph of the NMPE” is not a representation on oil of the actual, but painting in oil from a photographic representation of the actual.
Throughout the work of this exhibition, the artist attempts this re-processing of representation. In this, the “Nature Morte Prêt à Emporter” becomes an offering, an object of ritual; only to later be exhibited and exposed to the public.