Sneak Preview – Sirano Zalman EXE!

EXE! Expressions of Emotions, the upcoming exhibition of Sirano Zalman, December 01-05, 2010, in De Hal. Opening night: December 01, 2010, 19:00 hrs & discussion: December 03, 2010, evening.

In EXE! fifteen to sixteen large (all at least 100 centimeters high, and 180 centimeters wide) photographs printed on canvas, as well as seven to eight paintings from the Passion Scream series, will be on display in De Hal. In this Sneak Preview Sranan Art blog readers get a taste of both … In Suriname Sirano Zalman is best known for his paintings, but photography has always been a way in which he loves to express himself too. But he stresses that he is not a photographer, but a painter. “Every square centimeter you see here has been altered, worked on, changed. Layer after layer. Nothing you see here is the same as it was when I started. Like a painting, a photograph to me is a composition: you make your own colors. I’m painting with pixels instead of with a brush …”

When confronted with Sirano Zalman’s work, not everyone can appreciate -or should I say cope with- its directness. People tend to start giggling, not really daring to use the word “sex”, or “nude”, let alone “penis”, “vagina”, to describe what they see.  I remember a Dutch lady once said about Sirano’s work that she felt “onthutst”. Unsettled. Disconcerted.

A popular talk show host startled me by suddenly using vague phrases like “let’s say figurative” and “fascination for the female body”, larded with a lot of eye flashing and giggles, to explain to the viewers what Sirano’s work is about . For Suriname’s conservative society it is not easy to exhale; or when it comes to the other side of things: to inhale and breathe again.

Sirano Zalman: “Experiencing nudity is all about the mindset with which you look, and the context. With photography the viewer thinks what he sees is reality, it has a different impact.”

Sirano Zalman - Untitled, photograph on canvas, 2010

The male portraits show men in vulnerable poses, fetal positions, curled up. “I wanted to make a stronger connection between sensitivity and the male body. People regard men as strong, brave, tough.

Sirano Zalman - Untitled, 2010

“The background carries its own associations, gives the work more meaning.” Sirano uses either manmade environments as a background, or scenes from nature, in which the elements seem to play a role: air, water, earth. No, no fire, but that is always there in the form of passion.

Sirano Zalman - Untitled, from the Passion Scream series, 2010

“Every viewer makes his own story. A woman looks different at another woman than a man. A man will look different at another man than a woman.  What I try to portray is emotion.”

On Friday evening, December 3, a conversation will be held at the exhibition. The subject is nudity, sexuality and art. On the day of the sneak preview, I was privileged to SEE the work, but also HEAR some opinions on this subject.

This was the extra sneaky SNEAK PREVIEW where a group of artists gathered around Sirano’s laptop and got to see the work. A vivid discussion followed.

Previewing at Zus & Zo (Photo: Marieke Visser/Sranan Art, 2010)
Previewing at Zus & Zo (Photo: Marieke Visser/Sranan Art, 2010)
Previewing at Zus & Zo (Photo: Marieke Visser/Sranan Art, 2010)

“Sex is a terrible energy! Kings have lost their kingdoms because of it!”

“To me sex is an orgasmic activity.”

“Why make such an automatic connection between nudity and sexuality?

“Taboos shouldn’t necessarily be broken. They can be very useful! A taboo can even serve as a protection.”

“Don’t talk about lifting taboos; start talking about getting things in the open.”

“Just follow your heart and don’t hurt anyone along the way: isn’t it as simple as that?”

Well, that last statement sparked a lot of discussion … Curious? Join Sirano on Friday, December 3, at De Hal.

Also, an interesting blog inspired by this sneak pre-conversation can be found on this URL.

Opening night: December 01, 2010, 19:00 hrs

Opening hours: December 02 – 05, 2010, 12:00-14:00 hrs & 18:30-21:00 hrs

Discussion: December 03, 2010 Evening

Venue:  De Hal, Grote Combéweg 45, Paramaribo

Text: Marieke Visser


2 thoughts on “Sneak Preview – Sirano Zalman EXE!

  1. ha eindelijk Sirano:een expositie!!
    sexuality en nudity?
    zeer gedurfd,maar dat is sirano,de man met
    de mysterieuze uitstraling achter die verlegen blik!?!
    tot woensdag.


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