“A Hope” is the poignant second chapter of a serious survey of Lebanese-Australian artist Khaled Sabsabi’s work, following “A Promise” on the Artwork Gallery of New South Wales in 2021. Implicit within the exhibition title is the notion of risk, which reverberates all through the present because the artist delves into the complexities of place, identification, and tradition—common questions which have explicit resonance within the modern Australian context. The works oscillate between representations of the political and the religious, the mundane and the divine. The recontextualized set up Aajnya, 1998/2021, mobilizes scent and vibration to evoke a childhood reminiscence of searching for refuge underground through the Lebanese civil conflict, whereas the arresting two-channel video set up Wonderland, 2014, captures the just about ritualistic devotion of a multiethnic group of chanting soccer followers. 40, 2021, juxtaposes nature scenes with a shot of a lady’s face beneath an overlay of translucent veils. The footage is projected onto two giant screens on reverse sides of a darkish room permeated by a smooth, ethereal soundtrack. Suspended between them are eighteen two-sided acrylic-and-oil stick work of semi-abstract figures, heightening the magical undertones of the house.
Sabsabi’s installations overlap and blur the strains between figuration and abstraction, the digital and the analog. This comes as a lot from his background in hip-hop music as from his channeling of Sufism, which emphasizes nonduality and the coexistence of various concepts inside one actuality. Utilizing mild and sound to delineate thresholds, the artist builds bodily and metaphysical atmospheres that check the bounds of our notion, leaving us pondering our finite expertise of the world.