The exhibition « Mirage », open until April 23, 2022 at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in Berlin, Germany is artist Tewodros Hagos’ way of highlighting those happy, exhausted figures standing in dynamic, drawn textures on the vast field of a desert that seems to stretch endlessly into the distance.
His most recent series offers impeccably delivered works to continue his investigation into how the global transitory emergency is depicted and captured, explicitly considering the misleading idea of media reporting.
The « Mirage » exhibition is not only a powerful eulogy of local transitional space, but also questions how our propensity, to distance ourselves from discomfort can prevent us from seeing the reality of a circumstance.
In recent years, contemporary artist Tewodros Hagos has dedicated his practice to recording the migrant crisis by setting up tormented images that substitute resistance for dramatic editorial symbolism and film. While his works imagine a larger narrative of global turmoil, each composition, especially the close-up depictions, has a unique character and enthusiastic environment. He leads in his creations as much a call for help as a test not to look away, to recognize at the same time its aggravation and our guilt as detached spectators.
Tewodros Hagos thus questions how long we will witness this human misfortune and presents a little-known part of the excursion of the transients, in which individuals and families are forced to travel for miles in extreme weather conditions, with extremely limited means. This staggering sense of doom is conveyed both by the non-verbal communication of the characters and by the immense emptiness of the desert scene.
Be that as it may, Tewodros Hagos does not fail to emphasize that these are not works of woe, but rather a celebration of human strength and constancy. Without a doubt, all of his figures, especially the ladies, have a specific glow and radiance. They wear splendidly shaded and drawn textures and scarves, while the daylight seems almost to shine on the outer layer of material, enhancing both the magnificence of the figures and the brilliant tones of the desert.
Simultaneously, the power of the varieties, the stillness of the representations, and the stare of the figures create a slight climate of strangeness that disturbs our sense of insight. At the same time, the scene, though visible as a desert, is vague, relating less to a geological area than to a more expansive sense of confusion, though the division of earth and sky gives some sense of settlement.
In this sense, the idea of a mirage reflects less on the frustrated assumptions of transients than on the broader deceptions that we, as individuals and as a community, have created and propagated since the beginning of time. What will it take, the artist asks, for the world to come into focus?
The exhibition « Mirage » is open until April 23, 2022 at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in Berlin, Germany.