AREF EL RAYESS (Aley, Lebanon 1928-2005) was one of the most prolific and versatile artist of his generation, with an oeuvre that spans painting, drawing, collage and sculpture. A restless wanderer, his practice was constantly evolving, nourished by encounters and experiences that led him to live and work around the globe. From Senegal in the late 1940s he was regularly traveling to France, throughout the 1950s, where he attended classes at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and as well as the free studios of Fernand Leger, André Lhôte and La Grande Chaumière. In 1957, he came back to Lebanon and established his own atelier, only to leave again in 1959, this time to Italy where he spent four years between Rome and Florence.
The solo exhibition presented in our Hamburg space takes as a point of departure a body of work produced by the artist while in Italy, that includes both some of his early abstract paintings, very much in the style of the Ecole de Paris, as well as political pieces that comment on events happening in the Arab world, such as the Algerian war of independence.