Omar Hassan

(Milan, 1987)
An exciting synthesis of the gesture from which street art originates characterizes the researches of the Italian-Egyptian artist Omar Hassan: the spray of the can. This is the salient character of his language, animated by a joy of living that expresses itself through color.
Able to synthesize the Islamic cultural tradition, strongly inclined to the stigmatization of the figurative image in an abstract sign and tending towards a pure and anionic essentiality, Omar Hassan’s research investigates the meaning and the action of the gesture of spraying, recovering its roots in action painting, in the dance of the artist on the surface of the work, be it canvas, wall, sculptural object.
It is the initial moment of this performative and energetic act that is represented by the artist, blocking it in its iridescent dynamism through the action of spraying the different colors from spray cans placed at a close distance from the surface of the canvas or wall on which to intervene. From this gesture, which represents the first lexical unit of a writer’s grammar, countless small chromatic extensions are generated, spots of dripping color that become the basis of his expressive alphabet, an innovative and unmistakable stylistic code that symbolizes a return to the origin , to the primary expressive faculty of man.

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Hassan goes backwards through the process of creation of the work, remembering that color is a symbol and a conquest of mankind throughout the centuries: just think of the intense value of the signs traced by the first men on the walls of the caves of Lascaux and Altamura, of the different meanings of color in Eastern and Western cultures, of the role of color in Egyptian and Greco-Roman civilization, of the medieval pigments used to dye fabrics or decorate precious manuscripts, of color as space and code in the Renaissance… a millenary history that Hassan naturally retraces through the spontaneous, and each time unrepeatable, energy that flows from his arm in perpetual tension, generating a new perspective on the use of color, that of industrial origin, out of the spray can, but used with the same primitive method of investigation with which Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man produced colors by extracting black from coal, white from chalk or lime and ochre from earth. Hassan faces the surfaces with an energy charged with all this history, expressing himself with gestures of primordial wonder, of stupefied awareness, through a rapid succession of spray cans, devastating with the explosive dynamism of their energy, made up of an incredible multiplicity of colors that overlap through the stains. The artist traces the process of artistic creation from the beginning, when the impulse to realize what he has set out for himself leads him to modulate the expression of creative ecstasy with calibrated intelligence, just as when in his past as a boxer, he found himself having to calibrate the power of the blow to be delivered so that the opponent could not prevail.
During his public performances, the public becomes a participant in the creative process of creating the artwork, spraying one of the thousands colored dots that make up the work  on an enormous canvas with a can of the chosen color. Each spray is transformed into an individual vital expression that is layered together with the others on a surface; in this way, everyone is led to identify with that small dot in the midst of a multiplicity that represents all of humanity, “the very meaning of life, the sound of breathing and the color of the days, the will to permeate everything by facing it with this breath of energy”, as the critic Ivan Quaroni defines it and that Bergson called “élan vital”, the very metaphor of the unconscious filling and emptying of things. Once emptied, the cans are lined up and sealed in perspex cases; from work tools they become real relics of the gesture and become protagonists of works with a documentary value, as concrete and objective testimony of a practice.