Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do



WEEKEND Gallery 
Schloßstr. 62
14059 Berlin - Charlottenburg
Tel. 0049 (0) 30 3410482


Jad Salman's exhibition at the weekend gallery in Berlin promises to be more than a mere event at the beginning of the art week in Berlin. Even if I am myself absent, I know good friends will be there to see what he has done alone within a period of one year. Hence these few words from a distance, Athens in fact.

Since our first visit to art galleries in Berlin and various other places in November 2011, Jad Salman has worked tremendously hard on his paintings. He felt thanks to this experience in Berlin to be again truly a painter. It was something he felt to have lost while staying all the time in Paris and this under severe conditions e.g. little money, moving about since rental of places are difficult and growing anxiety if he would make it with all the official papers. It cannot be imagined what migrants go through and more so those coming from Palestine. Every time he checks in at the airport, he gets special treatment.  

Aside from the numerous visits to all the new art galleries in Berlin, this sense of being a true painter he may have regained due to having received tremendous feed-backs from the many people he showed his works to, namely Ariadne Ghabel, Jula Dech, Christine Holste, Volker Amrhein, Marita Wischerhof, Thomas Monses, Maki Shimizu, Rolf Binderman, Viktoria Müller, Mike van Graan, Johanna Schall, Armin Gröpler and especially from the artist Andjei Woron.
During that time in November 2011, we looked up as well this old friend of mine, Jacques Naom. He had opened the Weekend Gallery in 1981 and which has remained ever since a kind of alternative to the commercial trend of other galleries. In November 2011 the Weekend Gallery celebrated its 30 year of existence.

The Weekend Gallery is an alternative in a multiple sense, given Jacques Naom's own background. He is from Lebanon and his studies of Islam have made him sensitive to the dialectic of securalization as it applies to the Middle East. He sensed immediately that Jad Salman has a voice and a story to tell through his art works.

Now that the Arabic spring has gone into a difficult transition of governance due to many kinds of uncertainties and developments, including a resurgence of the Salafists and other Fundamentalists wishing to impose religious law as highest order, new challenges lie ahead. It is crucial to observe as well that the Palestine-Israel conflict has become tougher and harder while it is most difficult to gauge its potential to explode again since not in the news every day. Hence it is all the more important to read and to see what an artist like Jad Salman who comes from that region tells us through his paintings.

Dr. Gilles Kremer has written an interesting article about Jad Salman's work to be exhibited at the Weekend Gallery. He states that the paintings by Jad Salman reflect the Arabic movement and by so doing creates an amazing link to Fauvism. The latter has become known through someone like Henri Matisse. Fauvism gives priority to the language of the colour which can explode at any time, but also which can cover like any colour an entire space on the canvas. By analogy this comes close to what is happening right now to villages and entire landscapes in Syria. They are silent after the fighting and bombing has flattened everything. Through the work of Jad Salman the need to understand why all of this is happening in that region becomes ever more apparent. This is because through his paintings he seeks to reach out, in order to hear and to touch all the pain buried underneath the rubble of the many crushed houses by bombs or tank fires and this in search if there is still someone alive even if only a crumbled hope for a peaceful life.
Jad Salman has always set for himself the prime goal to respond to all these challenges first of all as a human being and then as an artist. That was already the case when he experienced the second Intifada while a student of art in Ramallah. It is his way of dealing or rather coping with the situation. And it is this attitude which makes a difference and him into the artist he is. 

He is an artist who is continuing his art work while doing as well his Ph.D. at Saint Denis University in Paris. It shows a far sightedness with regards what matters in today's world in which education and qualification do play a crucial role. As someone coming from Palestine, it reflects as well the value given there to good education.

Amazing is to walk with him through the Greek landscape for he knows from his life in Palestine what every tree and plant needs. This he has learned from his father and thus knows their particular characteristics. It underlines an affinity to the land just as poets would never leave out of sight the olive tree. Naturally all those experiences of the land were different before the wall was erected on Palestinian soil. That too says something about the hidden pain and bondage to the land and its people even when seen from a distance.

Since Jad Salman will exhibit for the first time in a gallery in Berlin where I published my first article about art and aesthetics in 1981, I can only express my gratitude at the sight of such continuity.

hatto fischer
Athens 4.9.2012




 A visit together with Jad Salman to the WEEKEND gallery and to see an old friend, Jacques Naoum 
17th of November 2011

The gallery is located on Schloßstraße. It can be found when walking past that famous 'Kastanienkneipe' (where I discovered in 1976 Ernst Bloch thanks to a book of his about Arabic philosophers which had been left behind by someone - Bloch always said the Arabic philosophers rescued the Greek light and changed it) on the other side of this broad avenue. To get there one has to cross the middle section which forms a park like strip in the road. The road is quite breath taking and runs directly towards the castle.

The gallery itself exists lime many in Berlin in the backyard. Entry is through the office since the gallery is in the basement.

The space available in the WEEKEND gallery invites both artist exhibiting and visitors into a 'twist and turn' route at the end of which they find almost like a secret place the bar. It gives especially artists with imagination incredible spaces for all kinds of exhibitions.

One warning should be made: it is not so much run down, as extremely derelict. Alone the office is a kind of chaotic composition of countless empty glasses left standing around to remind of a previous exhibition opening. Jacques Naoum apologizes. His volunteers do not seem to work that hard. Due to the cold, he has some old heating on, but it makes hardly a difference. To enter the gallery space through the office, one has to lift a kind of curtain carpet hung from a rod and then go down a few steps to enter the first room.

Jacques Naoum runs the Weekend Gallery. He comes from Lebanon where he was born in 1938 to study at first Theatre and Romanistic. Of course he speaks Arabic but due to the colonial history of Lebanon therefore as well fluently French. Naturally he knows as well English while perfecting constantly his German. He has studied as well something similar to Science of Religion, only Islam. He did so at a time when both studies were housed in the same Tillich Building of the Free University with Prof. Klaus Heinrich for Science of Religion attracting a diversity of students from all the other faculties. He satisfied simply that need to think across borders of disciplines.

Most telling is when reading Jacques Naoum's article is to see this influence of the categories this course of studies unearthes when making analysis of the various political fractions and streams of opposition to the regime. This becomes most evident, equally important when the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt gains in public recognition as power changes have gotten under way in the Arabic speaking world ever since first Tunesia and Egypt toppled their masters, if only to be followed in a much more bloody way in Libya and still unresolved in Syria.
Jacques Naom is a keen observer of what happens in the Middle East, right now his main focus is naturally on Syria. Even though he dislikes the Internet and its form of abstract communication, he does keep abreast with all kinds of Journals and newspapers, including the Herald Tribune.

As to the art works, well, the WEEKEND gallery proves to be something like an ink well in which one can dip in to stay authentic, one does not need to be necessarily an artist to appreciate this source of inspiration to be consistent and true over time. Insofar as the WEEKEND LETTER was the first publication about art for which I wrote, and felt excited by having made my first publication, that place remains to be a strong referential point when reviewing the new art galleries.

Incredible is the fact that this gallery still exists thirty years on. The WEEKEND gallery celebrated its existence from 1981 until 2011 with an opening of an exhibition on 25th of November 2011, and which remained open until 4.12.2011.

^ Top

« Art Galleries in Charlottenburg | Jacques Naoum »