Nadia Ayari

Nadia Ayari was born in 1981 in Tunis. She lives and works in New York. She studied art history at the College of Arts and Sciences, Boston University (2004) and fine arts at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Brandeis University (2005). She acquired her MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design (2007). Her solo shows include: Monya Rowe Gallery, New York (2011) / Luce, Turin (2009) / Mehr Gallery, New York (2011). She has also presented her work in group exhibitions such as: Saatchi Gallery, London (2009) / Memorial Hall Gallery at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence (2009) / Monica De Cardenas Gallery, Zuoz, Switzerland (2009) / Provincetown Art Association Museum, Massachusetts (2010) / Michael Rosenthal Gallery, San Francisco (2010) / 12th International Cairo Biennale, Cairo (2010) / Dubai Art Fair, United Arab Emirates (2011) / Luce, Art Cologne, Germany (2011). She has also participated in the curatorial project Across Histories: Artist and Curator Talks, for ArteEast held at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York (2008) and at Cabinet Space, New York (2009).

 

This project, Without Walls: the New Frescos of Thessaloniki, explores Mediterranean hybridity and cultural permanence using the history of Thessaloniki, Greece as its armature.

 

While I was working at Pavlos Melas camp, I focused on making frescos using a technique I have learned at Skowhegan, Maine. All three small-scale paintings present images of branches loaded with luscious green leaves and plum purple figs. Each fig is penetrated by an element of the depicted tree. In two of the pieces, a singular leaf pierces through the purple flesh of the Mediterranean fruit giving it a set of red lips and a long green tongue. In the third painting, the threatening leaves are on-guard, while the branches break the fig’s purple skin marking each with a bright crescent.

 

Once these images were completed, I transported these fragile pieces to three of the mosques located in Thessaloniki and dating to the region’s Ottoman rule: Rotοnda, Alatza Imaret and Yeni Tzami. There, I photographed each outside of the once religious edifice. The symmetry between the paintings and the ancient architecture was apparent to my eye and is captured in the photographs that were taken and later printed for the exhibition Domino.

Photos

Without Walls: The New Frescos of Thessaloniki, installation with portable frescos and photographs, 65 x 65 cm, 2011, courtesy of the artist, commisioned by the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art
Without Walls: The New Frescos of Thessaloniki, installation with portable frescos and photographs, 65 x 65 cm, 2011, courtesy of the artist, commisioned by the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art

Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 Biennale de Lyon