TEXT ME Tunis 2022

Zaid Abueisa — What is Hidden

Written by Janet Sebri. Published on 13 September 2022.

About Zaid Abueisa at the INTERFERENCE YOUNG MASTERS (IYM) in Tunis 2022.

Deconstruction and rebuilding from the ground up are at the core of Abueisa’s conceptual process. He descends to the roots of the topic at hand, and to his own roots to create artworks that serve as a portal into deeply rooted emotions, thoughts, memories, and what has been kept out of sight. In his artwork “What is Hidden”, and like his older works, he follows the same thought process, this time tackling the IYM’s exhibition theme “Photosynthesia” and delving deeper into microscopic cells in plants.

Videostills: Zaid Abueisa.

We are arriving to one of the roof top terrace of the Medina of Tunis. We are confronted with an infinite pattern of intricate shapes, projected on a wall facing the rooftop entrance, accompanied by mellow instrumental music that gives the site a serene feel. To the left of the projection on the vast unfinished wall hangs a tree that seems to complements the artwork in a discrete way. In the 2-dimensional frame, the artist constrained dense contours leaving no blank space for the eye to wander as purple, white, and black motifs erupt in waves inviting the visitor to follow what seems to be an endless unrepeatable cycle of creation, expansion, and merging of patterns. 

Photos: Anis Hmama.

Zaid brought together a set of algorithms built on mathematical functions that depict microscopic structural patterns in plants and algae. At the root of each leaf, is an interconnected network of chloroplast cells in the shapes of fractals, which are a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole. Exquisite structures, although unnoticeable, are everywhere around us. Zaid chose to experiment with this aesthetic phenomenon through feeding these algorithms to visual-rendering technologies.

“In this project, nature unfolds itself to us, showing a life cycle and how fractals can form together leaves, providing us with limitless possibilities as to what this shape might be,” says the artist when asked about this aesthetic decision, “nature invites me to see the invisible and observe the true genius efficiency of mother nature.” Zaid’s childhood and adult life are rooted in land. Coming from a family of farmers, he often found himself surrounded by plants and trees, we even went on a virtual tour of his garden where I saw how this attachment to green species takes shape. To him, this artwork provided a scope where he got to question what grounds and nurtures him.

Photos: Nour Sellami, Anis Hmama.

The value of this artwork resides in its aesthetic particularity and its legitimacy to the artist’s generative art practice. Although its complexity could have been hidden behind its minimal set-up requirements, it managed to spark the questions that he needed to be adressed: What are we seeing? How was it made? Reflection, experimentation, technical geniusness, and how they add up to something greater is how Zaid’s art is made and how it relates to him and to the global art world. As he explores the realms of generative art, he attempts to take up more space in the media art scene and on the walls of galleries and public space.