Immolation I, II, III, IV

Immolation i

David Gheron Tretiakoff


Drawing, 4 x (220 x 75 cm).
Materials: cigarette brunt drawings on silk paper

Collection: Courtesy of the artist.

The four-part Immolation shows four Arab revolutionaries who publicly sacrifice themselves through self-immolation and in so doing herald the beginning of the Arab Spring. The lugubrious drawings were created by means of cigarette burns, a direct reference to torture and burning stakes, even if what is depicted here can be considered as the most ultimate act of resistance in the form of self-destruction.

The portraits were meticulously executed on fragile sheets of paper in large format. They present a horribly detailed image. The burning male figures, surrounded by flames, seem to be consumed by an incessant torture; the burn holes through the paper show a trajectory of scars. Tuymans points to the cynical consequence of the procedure used: ‘drawing these images with the glowing end of a cigarette on the very fragile structure of the rice paper creates an almost poetic beauty’. Here, Tretiakoff presents the disconnection between political religiosity and resistance. The depicted martyrs are Mohamad Bouazizi from Tunisia, Ahmad Hachem as-Sayyed from Egypt, Ahmad al-Matarneh from Jordan and Hamza Al-Khatib from Syria.

Text: Hans Willemse
Translations: Michael Meert

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