THE INTERVIEW IN|DEEDS: Omar Hassan | Luisa Catucci Gallery

PROLOGUE | PERSONAL

Omar, if we were sitting face to face now, where would we talk together, where would we meet you? We are at the Luisa Catucci Gallery, in the Schillerkiez-Neukölln Berlin. It’s an amazing contemporary art gallery, and I’m glad to show my artworks in this space, and in this wonderful city.

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Omar Hassan at Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

Where do you come from, where were you born when? How and where do you currently live and work? I’m born and raised in Milano, by an Egyptian father and an Italian mother. Currently, I’m living between Milano and Miami. Which writers do you currently find exciting and which books are on your bookshelf? I love to read, and one of my favorite writers is Irvine Welsh. Unfortunately, it has been a long time since I’ve read a book because this past year I was working on my own one, which got published last June, titled “Per le Strade”.  Available on Amazon. What music do you listen to and when? I love the hip-hop scene, but I love to listen to all sorts of music, from Jimi Hendrix to Drake. If you would cook something for us, what would it be? I don’t like cooking, but I can make a pretty mean risotto. What do you like to eat most? I’m in love with meat, sorry vegetarians and vegan What do you think about breakfast? I never wake up hungry. I know it is not a particularly healthy choice, but I don’t really like to eat in the morning, so I am used to drinking one cappuccino and one coffee.

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Omar Hassan in the basement of Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

What kind of sport or counterbalance to your work do you practice? Do you have special passions for which you are burning, and if so, which ones? I always practice boxing. I grew as an agonistic boxer, that is a passion you do not forget easily. What personality trait defines you? I think I’m very generous, generally, and particularly with friends. I also try my best to be a proper gentleman, I do believe to be good-mannered is very important. My father taught me as much, and I am grateful.

INTERVIEW | ARTIST + POSITION

To begin, please tell us your artistic vita in a few sentences.                                                             

I graduated from the Fine Art Academy of Brera Milano. After graduation, I started quite fast to work with a good gallery in Milan. Later, in 2015 I made a big solo exhibition in London that had a very big success. From that moment I got the attention of several big players of the international contemporary art scene, which pushed my career between all continents. Now I am happy and proud to have my works in many major collections, public and private, worldwide.

Briefly explain your current project / the upcoming exhibition.

At the present time, I am here in Berlin with two solo exhibitions organized by my gallerist Luisa Catucci: one in her showrooms in the Schillerkiez Neukölln, and another opening on September 16th at Bermel von Luxburg Gallery, in Fasanenstrasse in Charlottenburg.

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Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

It is my first solo exhibition in Berlin, a peculiar city, during a particular historical moment for art and culture, very exciting! The unusual fact of having a double exhibition in the same town, but in such different city areas is very fascinating for me. The Metropolitan Districts, as distinctive social and educational realities, are a fundamental theme in my artistic practice. Plus, this collaboration between galleries shows me that in the art scene competition is not always the winning strategy and that joining forces is possible.

After this shows, I will focus on preparing my next solo exhibition, coming up next winter in Dubai.

What are you most concerned about at the moment; what is on your mind?                              

I am a bit concerned about the current restrictions to travel, as it complicates my life quite a bit, living between continents. But at the same time, I am very happy to show my work for the first time in Germany, and I am very grateful for the enthusiasm I did receive by the art scene here in Berlin.

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Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

How did you come to art? Why art?

Art has always been an important side of me since childhood, and I’ve always been aware that by working hard, day after day, I would become an artist too.

What makes you happy at the moment?                                                                                      

The possibility to show you my latest piece: a big map figuring the Districts of Berlin, realized with over 10.400 hand-painted spray-can caps. On display in the showrooms of Luisa Catucci Gallery until October 15th, do not miss it.

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Omar Hassan at Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

What is currently scaring you?

———

Do you believe that art has a social responsibility? And what do you think it can do?            

Yes, of course, art sometimes can be educational. Some other times it can be just inspirational, but inspiration, as well as education, is also fundamental to the well being of humankind.

What makes your art special? What is it about – what are the central themes of your work?

My art speaks to intergenerational people. Inspired by the urban life, and the sport of boxing -as a metaphor for the fights and personal struggles we all face by ourselves in life- my artistic research speaks a language that many people not only can understand but also identify with.It speaks of collectivity, and at the same time of the uniqueness of every single being. It speaks about the struggle to merge or even survive in contemporary society. It speaks about the interconnectivity of our past culture and the present one. It speaks about my personal troubles, as a diabetic type 1 person. But mostly it speaks about never giving up the fire that allows us to fight and to win our battles, eventually.

Read Omar Hassan’s answer to the question in his work further in THE DEED | DAS WERK.

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Omar Hassan at Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

How do you protect yourself from too much inspiration these days?

———

How much in your works is planned in advance – how much is created intuitively?

———

What are your (next) goals?

The solo exhibition in Dubai, and a couple of Institutional exhibitions that I am preparing.

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Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

What is your opinion about faith? Do you have principles of faith or is there a motto?

I believe in God, but my only faith is in the arts. I believe in strong energy and good vibes. My motto is:” I’m not punching to destroy, I’m creating”

Which project would you still like to realize, if lack of time, courage or financial resources would not play a role?

———

What do you consider to be attributes of good art?

I believe good art needs to be developed from a real concept, and a good deep reflection and research behind it.

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Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

Is one born as an artist*? Or is studying art compulsory in your view?

Both

To whom do you show a new work first? 

To my friend Francesco, he is an amazing performer, very prepared, and he knows me quite well.

What does the first hour of your day look like?

I really love the light in the morning and I enjoy waking up early, possibly when everyone else is still asleep.

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Luisa Catucci Gallery, Exhibition view, 2021

EPILOGUE | CURRENT

The solo exhibition BREAKING THROUGH BERLIN by Omar Hassan is presented in two Berlin galleries: from 6th September to 15th October 2021 at Luisa Catucci Gallery, Allerstraße 38, 12049 Berlin-Neukölln and accompanying fom 16th September to 17th October 2021 at Bermel von Luxburg Gallery, Fasanenstraße 29, 10719 Berlin-Charlottenburg.

www.omarhassan.art

www.instagram.com/omarhassanarte


In times of Corona, when travel, studio visits and personal contacts are inappropriate or even impossible, the written interview remains an important medium to introduce artist personalities, to spread their messages and to stay in touch with art lovers. The interviews are not edited or shortened by the editors and are always reproduced in original sound. Therefore, we do not translate the interview into English or German unless the interviewee submits a translation.

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