This looks like it’s going to be an amazing show. Go Bessma & Steven!
April 20 – May 19, 2012
Bessma Khalaf: Re-Enchanter
Opening Reception: Friday, April 20, 6-8pm
Steven Wolf Fine Arts
2747 19th Street, A, San Francisco, CA 94110
Gallery Hours: Wed–Fri 10:30-5:30, Saturday 11-5
In Re-enchanter, Bessma Khalaf’s new exhibition at Steven Wolf Fine Arts, the Iraqi born artist draws upon the Chaldean tradition of witchcraft, sorcery and truth telling to play the role of artist as re-enchanter of a dead, modernist world. Chaldeans are a small Christian sect of Iraqis. Historically, they were perceived by neighboring empires as experts in sorcery, astrology and the magical arts, and were consulted to deal with the unknown. But with the rise of religious fundamentalism they are now hunted like witches in their region.
With little more than an oversized hoodie and some everyday objects, Khalaf uses vaudevillian magic to transform herself from Gandalf the wizard, to a lady in a burka, to a Jedi Knight, and then back to an Oakland home girl. Her broomstick is a Segway and her backdrop is night, and the promise land of California. While this new body of work is visually darker than Khalaf’s previous films and photographs, it continues to rely on humor and ironic juxtapositions to illuminate the dark, tragic geography that divides the old world and the new.