Date: 19.4.2022 - 19:00
We cordially invite you to the vernissage of art exhibition "Enchanting Beauty" by Assem Al Sabban from Saudi Arabia.
Tuesday 19th April 2022 at 7:00PM
Special guest will be opera singer Jura Kurg accompanyed by pianist Marina Kantor.
Kantor and Krug worked together at the opera house back in Kiev and now - 35 years later - they have met again in Prague.
As a personal friend of AlSabban, Kantor knows that the artist loves opera and therefore decided to reconnect with Krug and remember their past within this very special performance.
Jura Kurg studied opera singing and conducting in Kiev. After graduating from the Academy of Music, he sang first in Kiev, and later in a number of opera houses of the former Soviet Union. At the international singing competition in Barcelona, he won a special prize for his arias from Verdi's operas, and in 2003 he received the A. Dvořák Prize. In 1991, the former head of the Prague National Theater Opera visited Kyiv and chose him for the role of Commander for the premiere of Mozart's Don Giovanni under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras, in preparation for the ceremonial reopening of the Estates Theater.
In addition to his work in the opera houses of the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland, he has also performed in Greece, Spain, Tunisia, France, Bulgaria, Germany and Ireland with his song and oratorio repertoire. From 1991 he worked as a guest of the Prague State Opera, in 1997 he accepted an engagement as a soloist. He created a number of roles on the stage of the Prague State Opera - Boris Godunov, Philip II, Inquisitor (Don Carlos), Mephistopheles (Faust and Margaret), Ramfis (Aida), Zachary (Nabucco), Surin (Queen of Spades), Count Monterone (Rigoletto) , Ferrando (Troubadour). He was a great success in Ljubljana as the King of the Cross in Sergei Prokofiev's opera Love for Three Oranges.
Marina Kantor was born in Kiev, Ukraine and studied in Kiev, Nijni Novgorod and Moscow. Her mentors included I. Katz, N. Stankevich, L. Shur and the renowned Russia pianist Stanislav Genrikhovich Neuhaus (Moscow Conservatory) among others. Before immigrating to Israel with her family in 1991, she worked as a pianist and coach at Kiev Opera Theater for Youth and the Jewish Musical-Dramatic Theatre named after Sholom Aleikhem.
Upon moving to Israel, Kantor performed as part of the Nora-Kantor piano/violin duo, in venues that included the Tzavta Hall, the Jaffa Music Centre and Tel Aviv Music Academy. Since 2000, Marina has been living in Prague where she performed as part of a Lecian-Kantor duo with cellist Christopher Lecian. The duo released five albums, among them sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms Franck and Debussy, and works by Piazzola and Jan Valta. Working with composer Sivan Eldar on her “Wispers and Chimes,” Kantor devised a theatrical production that combined live piano performance with staging and electronics. Alongside director Vasily Nedeltsu she created her first solo performance “Don’t End It In The Minor” — that has toured to great acclaim across Europe and the United States.
Kantor is currently the director and "ideas generator" of Beseder Gallery.
About the art exhibition:
The exceptional art of photography by Assem AlSabban brings to the world of photography and art a unique combination of traditions and sources of inspiration. The photography is deeply planted in traditional photography but introduces innovative and engaging characteristics.
AlSabban’s career is rooted in a combination of diplomatic work around the world and that of an artist-photographer. It is an unconventional combination that apparently leads to the creation of images that are also unconventional. In addition, residing in many countries due to his diplomatic pursuits translates into diverse sources of inspiration: cultural, historical, and visual.
The exhibition at the Beseder Gallery in Prague combines this creativity with a variety of levels of artistic photography. The selection presented covers several series of photographs he has created in recent years; we have chosen several directions that show the poetic psyche of Assem’s work. It begins with a photograph of a cityscape or of female models and quickly exhibits the unique gaze into his poetic soul as an artist.
The original photography is adorned with rich elements and graphic ornamentation that expresses the western culture in which Assem works. These basic elements are complemented by surprising oriental and Muslim motifs that relate to his years in Saudi Arabia.
Assem absorbs the spirit of each local where his work is created, so that the streets of Old Prague, its historic buildings, bridges, sculptures, and of course trams are all integrated into the photographs but undergo complex adaptations that reshape them, lending a diverse and endless cultural richness.
AlSabban writes about his photos: “These are reflections from the prison we build ourselves, inside our mind. Some, not all claim we are free, but the reality is different. We disagree with our positive thoughts more than we fight our negativity. I try to escape my prison through my artwork, and I do…. sometimes. In the lines, you’ll see and feel the complications of our thoughts. We strive to reach a goal, and we forget the simplicity of real happiness. We understand it more if we are imprisoned as we were during some time ago. Good luck with finding your freedom. Hidden in the books of history’s many secrets.”
Curator: Hagai Segev
Assem AlSabban started taking pictures at the age of just 14 and worked for many years for leading advertising agencies in Saudi Arabia and other countries. His profession as a Saudi diplomat then allowed him to travel to different countries and brought a lot of inspiration for his artistic work. He was able to capture the beauty of many countries in the Middle East, Senegal, as well as Paris and Helsinki and other European cities with his lens. One of the places he fell in love with and became a frequent subject of his works is Prague. In his photographs, he shows her unique atmosphere with a wide range of different expressions. It reveals the poetics of seemingly mundane things and conveys exceptional moments of visual imagination. It works with the principles of collage, montage or layering, and then specifically edits and prints the images on canvas, so that they act as breathtaking paintings. His works have been exhibited in Egypt, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Paris, Helsinki, and Prague.