Most of the time, we are content to go about our lives – living every day with the same business-as-usual attitude. But every once in a while, we stumble upon something out of the ordinary – stunning work on paper that we are afraid to touch for fear of damaging or staining it. Glancing through this discovery, drawing after drawing, we feel a sense of peace that urges us to delve deeper and seek more understanding. This is the world Aly Sirry invites us all to enter into at the CALM CHAOS exhibition.
Inspired by the surrounding mayhem in Cairo, Egypt, Aly Sirry creates hypnotic drawings out of the noise, the pollution, the wars, the revolts, the turmoil, and maybe even the anarchy of daily life. Each piece seems abstract at first glance, but closer observation reveals innumerable dots, spots, points, lines, curves, dashes, ropes, cords, all intertwined to construct endless seemingly moving compositions.
These works, all immaculately methodical and structured, tend to resemble Arabic calligraphy. What they actually are, is a liberating scribble. Invented alphabets of an uncharted language designed not to be read, but to be felt, in hopes of connecting the worldly with the spiritual.
Like a secluded scribe, Sirry meticulously draws on medium size paper, making order out of chaos. What appears to be irrational and messy is in fact calm and collected. Harmony is borne of repetition, and unorganized explosions of random energy reveal the unseen and the uncontrollable. His art, rooted in dichotomy and meditation, is reminiscent of grids, labyrinths, webs, and mazes to incite calm in the observer.
According to Aly Sirry, “My work seeks to divert observers from the dissonant and invasive ambient noise towards a zone of tranquil reflection; a zone where light and dark, tension and calm, order and chaos, are stilled and breathing resumes”. For Sirry, Egypt is an ancient and provocative land, humbled into a residue of what was. He believes we are a stock image censored of all contrasts, subtleties and gradations.
A full-time Egyptian diplomat, Aly Sirry is a self-taught artist. Multi-lingual with a lifetime interest in art, he has had no formal or academic art training. His artistic output has become more intensive and focused in the past 7 years and he has explored various crafts, producing works using diverse materials such as paper, clay, wood and metal. Currently he works mostly with ink on paper. Until now, Sirry never entertained the possibility of exhibiting his work and he regards his Calm Chaos exhibition as a very personal meditative undertaking.
The exhibition will run from 26th September to 29th October, at Art Talks, Cairo.