Mohammad Zaza, Syrian artist

Born in Riyad, Saudi Arabia in 1987
Lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland

Mohammad Zaza is a Syrian visual artist born in Riyadh in 1987 and currently living and working in Lausanne, Switzerland. Growing up in an artistic family, he started drawing and painting at an early age. After graduating top of the country from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Aleppo in 2010, he was appointed as a painting teacher assistant at the University until 2012. He has travelled since then in many countries in the Middle East and in Europe, working and exhibiting his work in numerous exhibitions and international art fairs. Besides painting on big size canvases, Zaza also works on illustrations and animations.

Following the commencement of the Syrian conflict, Zaza spent various periods living in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, before basing himself in Istanbul, Turkey, where he has lived for a few years. In the summer 2016, he moved to Brussels, Belgium and lately to Lausanne, Switzerland, but does not plan on staying there permanently and ceasing his itinerant lifestyle. “Once I caught the travel bug, I couldn’t stop. It’s become a necessity. I think my whole life I’ll keep moving after a few sedentary years, working and being inspired by new places.”

Zaza explains how his paintings, which seem so otherworldly, are in fact grounded in his conviction that all the elements of Creation, both natural and technological, are already expressed in the universe:

“In my paintings the body represents the complexity of the Creation. The link between the machine and the body is actually very close. The machine is a new, modern tool created by humans and its shape is inspired by their body’s members to serve specific functions. More generally, whatever technology is developed by people, it always comes from shapes and ideas that already exist in nature. No new concept will ever come from outside our planet.

When I start working on a painting, I have a general impression in my mind about the main, final shape it will take, which comes from the space and the initial abstract lines that I put on the canvas. The construction phase starts with a lot of colors and layers overlapping and ends with specific shapes that are the collaboration between imagination and the initial abstract.

For a viewer, my paintings may convey an ever-changing dreamscape. What relationship do my paintings have to reality? All the artworks come from and are part of reality. My approach, when I try to express an idea on the painting in my own language, is to press reality, the perspective, the far and the close, in one image. By letting the elements fly inside the painting in order to create a new circular gravity, I aim at reinventing the configuration of reality.

The sense of movement in my work is an important phenomenon. The movement is at the origin of the shape and, by its impulse, affects the form and the structure of everything. The shape then matches the need for this initial movement. I wish to depict the different stages of this movement and its influence on what surrounds us.”

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A fascinating Journey (Written by Gottfried Helnwein, Ireland, 2016)

Mohammad Zaza’s work is a fascinating journey through a universe of constant metamorphosis and transformation. His images epitomize the flow of life: never ending change and the perpetual creation of ever new forms and shapes and points of view.

He has found his own very unique aesthetic language which with he lures us into his mysterious, puzzling and enchanting world.

His art does what relevant art is supposed to do: it touches, moves and surprises, and it makes you think.