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Slimen Elkamel

 

Slimen Elkamel in his studioSlimen Elkamel in his studio

A craftsman of magical realism, not unlike a magician, Slimen Elkamel intertwines materials and techniques to shape a prodigious, magical world. His art begins with writing and leaps from paper to canvas, recalling the many tales and poems of his childhood. Evocative myths are mixed with memories of sloughed land, plains, and mountains - slices of a life sometimes peaceful, sometimes hard and laborious. Slimen Elkamel paints portraits of lovers who move in an unwavering nature. He constructs intense social introspections which raise eternal questions, inseparable from his creations. His rural imagery springs up in paintings and broadens the horizon of surrealism in works where the richness of genres and styles resonates. A sincere humanist, Slimen Elkamel skillfully depicts simple gestures, the intimate aspects of existence that reveal both depth and uniqueness of each being.

 

Slimen Elkamel was born 1983 in Mazouna in the region of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia. He lives and works in Tunis. He holds a Masters in painting from the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts and has participated in exhibitions in Africa and Europe. He was an art resident at the Living Arts Center in Rades, Tunis for a year and was a finalist of the inaugural Sovereign MENA Art Prize in partnership with Start. This prize awards 30 of the most exciting mid-career artists across the MENA region with an exhibition in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai in 2016. In early 2022, his work was the subject of a major retrospective at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

 

Slimen Elkamel "Searching for you"Slimen Elkamel "Searching for you"What is striking in Slimen Elkamel’s paintings is the obvious rejection of categorization. Not one “genre” of the academic terminology such as portraiture, landscape, or abstract, applies to the profuse pictorial expression of this Tunisian artist, but rather all genres at once, a multigenre style, one might say. Does this cause disorder, confusion, illegibility; paintings without meaning? No, because in every painting of his there is a great referent, this pivotal element around which everything revolves and organizes itself - the human body.
Slimen Elkamel’s painting, figurative when it traces recognizable elements of a human, vegetal, animal, atmospheric or even cosmic nature, abstract when the artist elaborates on his canvas certain elements relating to the environment, the ambience is deeply anthropic - anthropocentric painting, focusing on the human. For the artist it is indeed the human being who is the determinant element, the “measure of all things,” to use Protagoras’ words. Even if the humans installed by the artist in his paintings are not in absolute control about everything gravitating around them. The artist seems to start from a simple, common sense principle: it is because we exist, humans that we are, that representation exists. Consequently, it is out of the question to consider that the look that a painter translates into painting can be other than incarnated and, more logically still, other than personalized. Maximum subjectivation. A painting of a centered subject, which is the artist himself as a body in a universe, our world, where destiny is not loneliness but social life, confrontation with other bodies in addition with confronting one’s own body. All of Slimen Elkamel’s paintings are filled with such corporeality. Each figure appearing to lay the foundation for a situation where these beings orbit each other, not following the same orbital direction or shape, but all pictured together, as a whole of which they are certainly an important element but not the only one. Exactly as in life. 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Searching for you", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Searching for you", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Searching for you

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 190 by 150 cm (approx. 74.8 by 59 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Between us", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Between us", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Between us

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 200 by 200 cm (approx. 78.75 by 78.75 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Double fun", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Double fun", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Double fun

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 190 by 140 cm (approx. 74.8 by 55.1 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Deep Trance", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Deep Trance", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Deep trance

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 190 by 140 cm (approx. 74.8 by 55.1 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Catching you", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Catching you", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Catching you

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 190 by 120 cm (approx. 74.8 by 47.25 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "The natural kiss", 2022Slimen Elkamel "The natural kiss", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

The natural kiss

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 160 by 190 cm (approx. 63 by 74.8 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Polyvisions", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Polyvisions", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Polyvisions

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 190 by 160 cm (approx. 74.8 by 63 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Musical trip", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Musical trip", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Musical trip

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 190 by 160 cm (approx. 74.8 by 63 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Fire up", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Fire up", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Fire up

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 190 by 150 cm (approx. 74.8 by 59 in.)

 

 

 

Slimen Elkamel "Scarecrows", 2022Slimen Elkamel "Scarecrows", 2022

Slimen Elkamel

Scarecrows

2022

acrylic on canvas

ca. 190 by 160 cm (approx. 74.8 by 63 in.)