The French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed will unveil new works, and his latest twist on depicting Arabic script, in his first UK solo show due to launch at Lazinc Gallery in Mayfair next month (Tabula Rasa, 25 January-9 March).
Paris-born, Dubai-based eL Seed, whose practice centres on transforming the Arabic language, is known for his elaborate calligraphic compositions emblazoned across streets and public spaces in New York, Paris and Cairo, where he created a massive mural spread across almost 50 buildings in the Manshiyat Nasr district (Perception, 2016).
In his latest works—a series of new paintings—eL Seed further adapts Arabic calligraphy, presenting curved and looped forms, tearing the surface calligraphy “to reveal phrases and imagery below, which materialise slowly and differently with each viewing”, says the artist on Instagram.
“In contrast to eL Seed’s usually polished and perfected canvases, the works at Lazinc appear with an unfinished aesthetic,” according to a project statement. Tabula rasa, a Latin phrase usually translated as “blank slate”, was expounded by the 17th-century philosopher John Locke who said that the mind was like a “white paper, void of all characters” with “all the materials of reason and knowledge” derived from experience.
eL Seed adds: “For this exhibition, I have developed my process, stripping down the works, in an effort to access my ‘tabula rasa’… in relation to my canvases, I have taken the idea of the tabula rasa as a starting point with the aim to alter deep-seated preconceptions that are commonly held about Arabic script and culture… guests are invited to reconsider all that they previously thought about Arabic and immerse themselves in the calligraphic experience.” He has added the hashtag #ihopetheQueencomes