When I was visiting the BAF, Beirut Art Fair last week I came across the work of Edgard Mazigi. I was attracted by one of his works exhibited by Galerie Epreuve d’artiste. After a small chat he invited me to visit his atelier in Achrafieh, a beautiful part of old Beirut. The next day he picked me up and we walked to his house.
We passed some amazing old houses or palaces from before the civil war. He is proud of his city and still very much charmed by it’s beauty. At the same time he is worried that those jewels will disappear in the near future. The example stands right in front of his house: once a palace, now a a huge apartment building.
While we are sipping coffee he tells me about the renovation of his apartment a few years ago. A design interior, with a clean look is the result of this renovation. However his personality and his work beautifully placed in differents parts of the house, fill the room with warmth and sympathy.
He was born in Beirut in 1955, studied in Lyon, and holds a diploma of the Ecole Supérieure des Industries Textiles de Lyon. He moved as a sales manager to Saudi Arabia and worked and lived for a long time in Connecticut, where he began to study Fine arts and Painting. In 1995 he was a full time student at the New York Studio School where he got an award of Exellence in Painting in 1998.
In 1999 he moves back to Lebanon where he works as a full time painter. He talks in a very open way and takes the time when we we go along his work. Strong as he is in working with charcoal he shows me 30 drawings called “windows of my mind”
He still loves to work with charcoal especially when it comes to big pieces. When we enter his atelier, big pieces, oil on canvas, are on the roll. He loves working with oil as well. According to Edgard oil is more sensual and he loves working wet on wet.
When you visit his website www.edgardmazigi.com you will find many works, drawings and more works of charcoal on paper. A lot of his works have been sold and are now in the USA, Lebanon and other places. He also likes to work in the mountains. A few works called Beit Mery 1, and 2 are from there. He is planning to work more in the mountains in his place which he has overthere.
In a lot lot of his works he goes from figurative to even more abstract. He likes to push it real far in the sense that his work gets a multitude of layers which will surprise the viewer every time. He does not like that when you look at his work you immediately find out what it represents. Mystery, deeper feelings in a labyrinth of emotions are one of the key pillars in his work.
After years of starting first by painting from the motif, he develops himself more and more and finds his own strenght: starting in front of an empty piece of canvas, putting brushstrokes without knowing where they end. Most of his work is titled because along the process of painting a title will come up in his mind but he might change it until the last moment, before his brushes are drying up. He shows me his last work called “Urban Living”, big pieces, oil on linen which shows images of people sometimes with, sometimes without a face. All of them full of emotions and feelings not visible at a first glance.
My visit is almost finished. We talk about Beirut again, like he loves to live in this city, and he how loves his friends over here. Real friends. Although he knows and realises that networking is a must thesedays he puts a limit to the amount of contacts. Actually to a certain point he is able to do this: his work speaks for itself and does not need the high tech communication possibilities of todays world. Feelings, emotions and admiration will find their way and will stay in the hearts of the people while digital contacts will vanish and fade away. When I leave his place our meeting hovers in my heart and mind like in his painting “Hovering clouds”.