MKUltra: we are infinite and eternal
di Mustafa Sabbagh
MKUltra: we are infinite and eternal (dedicated to the Orestiadi Foundation and to the second edition of Gibellina PhotoRoad) represents a declination of Mustafa Sabbagh's latest multimedia installation project. The artist, who has made experimentation one of his most powerful figures, appropriates the headline of one of the most experimental – and least ethical – projects in the history of humanity to conceptually subvert its outcome through an equally detonating weapon: the artistic gesture.
We are infinite and eternal as a manifesto, a mantra, a memento. Eternal through a reconnection with everyone’s own history, materially intervening on portraits of an ancient date with striking proportions and an eternal typicality, and infinite through the symbolic elimination of artificial boundary lines (Kudurru, 2018), interacting and interfering in an already disturbed monochromatism due to the reiterated obsession of suffering heads (MKUltra, 2018), immersed in techno-bpm as cadences of a new military march (Rave Party, 2019).
Unhinged barriers, sick heads and acts of rupture as starting points, as for the Zero Degree that Barthes identified in writing, represent the Zero Degree that Sabbagh traces and catalogs for culture. On view the crystallization of a brainwashing triggered in a mute and tight exorcism between photography, sculpture and video, sclerosing ages and identities by incinerating features, obscuring glances, erasing boundaries, putting faces in impossible but, on closer inspection, ever so real correspondences. Everything, in Sabbagh, for a single purpose: that of never defusing thought.
Mustafa Sabbagh was born in Amman, Jordan, in 1961. He lives and works in Italy. Harmony of imperfection, psychological and anthropological enquiry through the construction of the image and of the environmental installation are the stylistic features he brings into the most important exhibition spaces of the world. His research – enquired through several interviews and documentaries dedicated, among the others, by Sky Arte (Photographers, 2013) and by Rai5 (The sense of Beauty, 2018) – is firstly led through photography, video-art and site-specific installation.
His artworks are included in numerous publications and monographs as in several private and public contemporary art collections – among which the Farnesina Foreign Ministry’s (2014), the MAXXI’s – National Museum of XXI century Arts (2015), the Orestiadi Foundation’s (2018). Following his first retrospective XI Commandment: You shall not forget (2016), the Mayor Leoluca Orlando conferred on him the honorary citizenship of Palermo. Mustafa Sabbagh has also been recognized, by an art historian the likes of Peter Weiermair, as one of the 100 most influential photographers in the world.