A Closer Look at the Ordinary
Serge Najjar’s approach to photography is intuitive. It derives from his passion for modern and contemporary art. He easily references Kazimir Malevich’s ‘Architectons’, Josef Albers’ abstract compositions, Robert Mangold and Ellsworth Kelly, and also Aurélie Nemours, Frank Stella and Sol Lewitt. The graphic approach of the Russian avant-garde and, specifically, Alexander Rodchenko catches Najjar’s interest early on his career: deciphering the image and its construction will come to guide the structure of his future endeavours.
Serge Najjar’s pictures place the viewer within a world where reality and fantasy meet. They capture the passing of time, or a space where the transient disposition of man would inhabit ideal radical constructions. Motionless variations on a theme, the photographs engage in a dialogue, complete each other or not, but always create a singular space that is inhabited by the onlooker within the space they are presented in. Always on foot across the city, the photographer tracks down architecture, surfaces and ‘ordinary’ shapes which, when seen from unusual angles, appear as surreal figures. One click and the concert of the outdoors is frozen into evidence. Shadow and light, passerby, subject, worker; thus architecture and man stay on the edge of abstraction. This is where we find the formal language of the photographer. By appropriating the principles of capture of immediate reality, where direct photography is only possible thanks to the distance of the subject, and the photographer too. Whether colour or black and white photographs, Najjar's body of images forms a coherent sum that emerges instantly, without meditation, as a dance between flatness and depth. Careful, calm, without outcry, the photographer plays with elements that are readily available. Shadows become geometric sculptures; three dimensional shapes morph into planes. Perspectives tilt, the image is constructed, reality is cut, riffled through and rebuilt by the lines that surround us.
Six years ago Serge Najjar started photographing the interaction between people and architecture in his hometown Beirut. Influenced by the work of Kazimir Malevich, Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, and Alexander Rodchenko, Najjar took to the streets, focusing his lens on daily routines and the thin line between the ugly and the beautiful, the ordinary and the less ordinary.
Serge Najjar started photography in 2011. He was immediately contacted by many galleries and started exhibiting at Tanit Gallery Beirut and Munich and Edelman Gallery in Chicago. He is the Laureate winner of Photomed 2014. His works are today exhibited in major international fairs.