The Hyperreal world of Khaled Hafez ⇒ Kirno Sohochari

We are seated on a peak where the human world is destined to take the burden of intermingled images and fated to repeat them over again. This is a new world bottled by the old wine. Definition of humanity sounds greener here as if it just sprouts with new flesh and breathe; actually, it is nothing but a repetition of intermingled images with exaggeration. We are the repercussion of images those we think have never seen before, while they echoed the same old narrative with tricky declivity. 

The birth of images in human civilization means an association and collision between individual and collective images. Symbolized sign and icon is a byproduct of that duel which might often happen in our daily surface. Images are useful elements in that context. Sings and icons of any image help us to recognize the self-contradicted nature of humanity. It as well provoked us to track the history, that is, how this world achieved its own improvised version as a replacement of Nature-evolved version. We can say so an image represents the history of civilization through its signs and icons. It assists us to cognize what’s going on when humanity tried to make an improvised version of humankind by going against Nature’s free will. 

Images in that sense carried some shaking fragility. An improvised version of the image reflects binary opposition; one image opposes another in that opposition and yonder another then make a conflict with others; nonetheless, they iconized them by this way to reproduce the fixed meaning of a particular image over again. Thus, we cannot say images are inept to guide humans or they are aloof to tell something about life’s venture. 

Khaled Hafez_1, Huston Runner

Source: khaledhafez.net; Houston Runners by Khaled Hafez

… We are the resident of a strange planet where replacement is the only survivor. Everything is in hurry to take the ephemeral flight and only God knows where! Khaled Hafez might realize the collided duality and tries to engrave all this contrast in his canvas, so seer can feel something quickly shifted and replaced by one another, and time is none but a character of ambiguous disorder between signs. His animated paintistry echoed the truth with pop art fancy.
… … …

The history of humans on other word related to the history of images. Image firstly engraved its own moment and then expressed the self-identity through symbolic signs, legends, and icons. There have images created in the remote past and they now contradict with today’s images, or there might have a chance of giving birth contrasted images at near future. The condition depends on human’s attachment with the historical timeframe; that is, how they were attached with the remote past and in which way they will mobilize them for the future attachment to create new images by seated on the current images. 

Images that were born in remotest past they can revive from the graveyard and appear contrasting to the new images that may grow in the soil just a moment before. For instance, we can say food foragers of prehistoric times has no more belongs in today; thus, the images of foraging time is over now. This statement doesn’t mean the death of “foraging”. When we observe today’s food hunting process we realized instant the ways of food foraging have changed due to the emergence of agro-based industrial and technological revolution; where the new images of food production now replace old day’s foraging. 

Newborn images contradict with oldies in this way. The essence of old images somehow sprouted in the newly made images as a reminder that we are not detached to the old; old images can come back by sudden even in today despite their symbolic blurriness and irrelevance. Once the image we believe a reflexion of omnipotent God, nowadays we treat the same image mythical for us. Anyway, the essence of generates which give it a “mythical” height, that flavor could never die. Mythologist Joseph Campbell discussed the mythical flavor of images in his works. He helps us to appreciate how the essence of images can create new myth even in today’s metropolis. The mythical images of ancient brawny God have no more belongs in metropolitan mind, but the exaggerated activities of Rambo now played there to recapture the images of previously created brawny God. 

Rambo_1

Source: chozadigital.com; Rambo; Movie Poster

… We are living in a pretentious world where everything is looking fine-tuned and over certain, but they fragmented by pieces when collides with uncertainty rings the bell. The essence of super-human is a faint shadow and soon replaced by the ghostly non-human. 
… … …

Rambo is the new hero of our time who can destroy enemies by using his immense potential. The cinematic hero now takes the vacant place of previously created God. He is entitled now as a mythical legend for this contemporary world. The incorporeal superhuman Gods have lost their validity in modern civilization; on the other hand, they still exist when we see today’s “larger than life” heroes in cinescreen or television, or read their superhuman activities in comics and fictional stories. Sci-fi heroes now begin to act most likely the ancient mythical God. 

We should remember all these interchanging factors before talking further about Egyptian artist Khaled Hafez‘s artistry. His artistry frequently applied immemorial sign, icon, and legend in parallel of modern images; and we know it makes his artwork a noticeable item for today’s seers. Some questions are inevitable in this knowing. We can ask him, —why he juxtaposed intermingle images in his canvas? Why he installed historical elements in such ways that flare up our mind to read his paintistry with political significance? Why living and non-living objects, evildoer and innocent characters, the past and present history of the world, real and fictional entities,…all elements altogether he assembled in his canvas? Why superimposed installation of objects and whimsical blending of diverse art forms create immense confusion and to the parallel a silent displeasure in his viewer’s mind? Why he provoked his seers to read the contrasting history of human civilization by looking through the Egyptian Iconography? 

We have to remind the moral before permitting us to deal with all these bothersome questions; that is, mythical characters and their representation can die in course of time but the essence that symbolized and gives them iconic greatness it cannot die even in the crucial changes of spacetime continuum. Images are global despite their locality. Khaled Hafez might realize the immortality and simulated pattern of images better than many of his contemporary comrades. This realization perhaps motivated him to install the images of “Power” with a potential correlation and hybridal breeding. 

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Khaled Hafez_2, Divine Exodus, 2009

Source: another africa.net; Divine Exodus by Khaled Hafez, 2009

… Khaled animated his painting canvas by standing on today’s peak to make a connection between the remote past and upcoming future images of life. Critic’s definition of “Hybridity” is not enough when they marked Khaled’s Iconographical representation of life where the painter per se marked him the victim of Hyperreal, where he sees himself subjected by the reality with immense juxtaposition.
… … …

The narrative of human civilization is essentially a dynamic whisper of simulated images; it looked contrasting in our eyes because to the different pace of time, where an old image appeared remote and ambiguous when we compare it with youngling new. Actually, a mere difference rest behind there; for instance, the images of ancient or medieval tyrant kingship has little difference with today’s democracy monger kingship; if we consider how the power images played its rule in remote and nearest past, and how they repeat the game even in today’s world. 

Individuality and uniqueness of power particularly emerged from the collective association of other images. Suppose the “Power image” relates us to memorize the majestic icon of a ruler. Power icon was born when Social Contract happened to pick a man from the community members who can lead them. This contract played a vital role in that context; it separates humans from Nature-dependency in one sense; another sense it builds the image hierarchy which now fixed everybody’s role and positional stature in the community. The image of disciplinary rules and regulation, bureaucracy and legislative bodies, the hierarchy of passing order from top to bottom, and unification of all those regimental icons validates ruler’s icon to establish its own regime; so that it can play the executive rule as an operator of the power. 

The history brings power images in front of our eyes, and we know power reflects such authoritarian icons that are capable to guide all members of the society to act under specified terms and conditions. Contrary, the members of a society actually owned the image that we called “tenant”. This image represents the images of masses; which in today’s context denotes “public”. A relation between “ruler and public” icon reflects the rapport between two opposite images, means domination and the dominated. “Public” icon is liable to obey the order of “ruler” icon; on the opposite, “ruler” icon has a responsibility to perform its duty with sagacity so that the dependent “public” icon can entrust its faith to the ruler. History of human images is waning in that sense; since the basic contract between “ruler and public” icon have overruled from to the beginning moment of human-made social contract. 

Khaled Hafez_3, Flight of the half Goddess

Source: khaledhafez.net; Book of Flight by Khaled Hafez; mixed media on Canvas

… Khaled is very tricky in his contrasting images. Suppose “Book of Flight” transversely converts Anubis a comic female Goddess. She is now the viewer and gatekeeper of the assembly; we see her in parallel to the parade of today’s canine head masculine god and goddess, who actually have gathered there for listening Goddess judgment; if she permits then only they can enter the real underworld life.
… … …

Khaled Hafez superimposed installation art where the past images of Egyptian society stand beside to the recent, it reflects a breach of contract between the “ruler and public” icons, which makes power a weapon for society elites and dreadful for the rest. Peasants of the Nile and middle or semi-middle class residents of Cairo represents “public” icon in contrast of ancient and modern “ruler” icon. Khaled’s “Flight Series” (for instance his “Book of Flight, Flight of the Underworld, and Kinsola Flight”), especially the ascribed paintistry of “Seated Goddess on White” might tell the hidden stories with beckoning laughter. 

The juxtaposition of painted objects in Khaled’s canvas appeared as a reminder of ancient Egyptian iconography. He also applied Islamic Calligraphy and sacred verses of Quran in his juxtaposed world, where they exhibit his aspect and criticism to the sociopolitical ambiance of “contemporary” Arab world. Anyway, the exhibited elements in Khaled’s canvas discover them a victim of the globalist trend, which is now a common experience in all over the world. The artist has no alternative except for this that he is liable to signify the trend by using Egyptian Iconography by taking the animator’s mood; and this way Khaled utilized his intellect to animate the Egyptian reality in a global aspect. 

We can mark Khaled Hafez an animator of contemporary Egypt. He animates objects rather than to paint them with stoical faces. His characters keep themselves busy to continue their kinetism. We see they are running, flying, escaping, dancing, walking, and showing their masculinity with animation like hastiness; as if they are the hitchhiker of this confused time. Yes, they are in hurry; on the opposite, we see them eventually unconscious to the fact that they are in hurry and pace. When the characters of life are flying or running in the limited spacetime, they have no time to ask about their hurriedness. It is just likely similar to the image where a man takes a leap into the void despite to know this that where he jumps, as because the ultimate destination of the flight is uncertain to him. 

Khaled Hafez_4, Flight of the underworld

Source: khaledhafez.net; Flight of the underworld, Mixed Media, 1910 by Khaled Hafez

… “Flight of the Underworld” even more tricky where crowned African Deer takes Anubis place; he moves in the canvas just like the immovable Pharaoh Kings. Khaled contrasted the crowned animal with the images of modern day’s hurried runners. They were slaves in ancient Egypt and buried with the dead king; today’s runners are not slaves but preordained to bury them in the underworld cave, where the politics of power appeared with Underworld Don’s images to destine humanity’s fate in the planet.
… … …

Reality is a provocative juggler. It was seditious in the ancient past when the canine head embalmer Anubis mummified dead and appeared as the protector of tombs. His iconic Godness eagerly took-over the charges of the dead. History told Anubis played his rule as decider that who will enter the realm of death. The “Book of Dead” depicted him as an evildoer enemy of life, where the God of Death weighed dead heart to make his decision transparent. These images iconized his name with dreadful terror and uncertainty.

Anubis preferred to stay in the afterlife void. Anyway, Khaled Hafez treatment on void contrasts this afterlife emporium with today; where the iconic representation of Anubis in Pharaoh Periods could be comparable to the images of modern day’s underworld; where the underworld don can take anybody’s life without excuse; as Anubis always tried to mummify life through the fragrance of death. Maybe the image of Anubis could contrastable with recently grown images where medicinal technology has desperate to get its victory over the dead; where one picture shows the vanishing fate of human life and reversely another picture tried to stop this vanishing stream, so the immortality could achievable by humans. This effort reminds medieval alchemists who once tried hard to get victory over mortality. 

Khaled is very tricky in his contrasting images. Suppose “Book of Flight” transversely converts Anubis a comic female Goddess. She is now the viewer and gatekeeper of the assembly; we see her in parallel to the parade of today’s canine head masculine god and goddess, who actually have gathered there for listening Goddess judgment; if she permits then only they can enter the real underworld life. “Flight of the Underworld” even more tricky where crowned African Deer takes Anubis place; he moves in the canvas just like the immovable Pharaoh Kings. Khaled contrasted the crowned animal with the images of modern day’s hurried runners. They were slaves in ancient Egypt and buried with the dead king; today’s runners are not slaves but preordained to bury them in the underworld cave, where the politics of power appeared with Underworld Don’s images to destine humanity’s fate in the planet. 

Khaled Hafez_5, Contminated Belief, Installation

Source: khaledhafez.net; Contaminated Belief, 2007 by Khaled Hafez, 2007

… Where dominance appeared with drudgery and cruelty the birth of reverse images that mean protest, movement, rebellion or upsurge is inevitable. Michel Foucault once surmised the whole trend in his iconic comment, “…where there is power there is resistance.”
… .. ….

Khaled is a versatile artist like his many contemporaries. His video installation project “Contaminated Belief” beckoned how the new phase of global capitalism appeared with horrific experience to create new slavery in excuse of the open market economy. The juxtaposed ordination of gun, machete, hammer etc. forced viewers to rethink about the sociopolitical images of the system, which is now contaminated due to the newly arisen capitalists. Yes, they are the new underworld don who can decide how the gun or machete-like tool will work in a system; and as well as, what should be the role of “public” in this Warfield where power, wealth and labor force frequently contradict each other. 

Khaled’s painting canvas is an eventful newspaper. Objects presenting them to supply some headline materials that they are busy to do something for life but the purpose is not clear or covered by fuzziness. Reversely the repetitive presence of African animals where they move in the painting frame as like His Majesty is walking in the Garden of Eden with immovable grandeur. This representation reminds the uniqueness of Afro locality, where it yet like to stand on its self-prejudice and pride. Images of life are now more hybrid than any other historical moments. History has no time to read the history even, except for marking the whimsical self-gratification and messy presence of animated characters and their hybridal relations with time. Khaled means it when he contrasted a bodybuilder and the African Deer in the same space of his “Realms of the Hyperreal” canvas. 

The meaning of hyperreal is profound in today’s meta-modern reality of life. It indicates distinction and lack of consciousness to the surface where a person is strolling now. That person is lonely and isolated despite his involvement with the animated world. He prefers his cellphone to make a connection with the ambiance he lives. He is more social than ever but his sociality is apathetic to establish skin-connection with his soul mates; but he covered the loss to make him a screen-connected personality, who might love to talk on a cell phone, prefer Facebook to stay connected with other people. Hyperreal is a leap from the materialized reality. A person is now bound to see him strolling in the machine-created reality; that means he prefers stayed on the virtual reality to make a deal with his earthling soulmates. True, bodily he yet lives in the real world; on the opposite, he articulated himself in that world which can simulate real things and supply the flavor of material reality through techno-based images. The iconic cell phone and computer device create this neo-reality for him. He can feel the taste of the real world when he touches the cell phone screen or googles the entire world in his computer. 

Khaled Hafez_6, ONE GOD & ONE HATHUR, 2017, Realms of the hyperreal

Source: nomegallery.com; One God and Hathur, 2007, Realms of the Hyperreal by Khaled Hafez

… Images of life are now more hybrid than any other historical moments. History has no time to read the history even, except for marking the whimsical self-gratification and messy presence of animated characters and their hybridal relations with time. Khaled means it when he contrasted a bodybuilder and the African Deer in the same space of his “Realms of the Hyperreal” canvas.
… … …

This is a leap from the skin to screen. Everybody sits beside everybody in this reality express but destined to sit there with a silent face and salient inertia. They have no alternative other than this, because, their finger stuck them with the magical screen, so they can keep them busy by ignoring their companions. The significance is profound. Apathetic muteness means human skin has already lost its magical hypnosis, and the death of skin and vocal is inevitable at near future. On contrary, the muteness of human skin opens a door where a human being can take the chance of metamorphosis; yes, he can transform his body-mind to ratify his previous fault and erroneous blunder what he has done with all other creatures of Nature. The precious ‘sensitivity’ has decremented now but the birth of a new sensitivity is inevitable due to the upcoming emergence of artificial intelligence based juxtaposed reality; which will appear soon as a simulation of the human world with all its intellect and creativity, and maybe with the demonic images of it. 

Khaled Hafez_12, Chapter 10, Veritas Vos Liberabit.jpg

Source: www.artsy.net; Chapter 10: Veritas Vos Liberabit by Khaled Hafez

… the muteness of human skin opens a door where a human being can take the chance of metamorphosis; yes, he can transform his body-mind to ratify his previous fault and erroneous blunder what he has done with all other creatures of Nature. The precious ‘sensitivity’ has decremented now but the birth of a new sensitivity is inevitable due to the upcoming emergence of artificial intelligence based juxtaposed reality; which will appear soon as a simulation of the human world with all its intellect and creativity, and maybe with the demonic images of it.
… … …

Khaled animated his painting canvas by standing on today’s peak to make a connection between the remote past and upcoming future images of life. Critic’s definition of “Hybridity” is not enough when they marked Khaled’s Iconographical representation of life where the painter per se marked him the victim of Hyperreal, where he sees himself subjected by the reality with immense juxtaposition. We see he is reluctant to animate Egyptian culture by grounding his artistic position what he means in an interview session as “Assala”; means an artist can juxtapose any image might come from the tradition, but he must do it by using his self-regarded consciousness to the historical elements. Nor he is able to animate his canvas by following the essence of “Mu’assara”; means an artist should paint which appeared “being contemporary” to him. Rather, Khaled’s painting reflects the hybridization of both trend; and finally, he overcomes it by created his unique power of installing simulated images in a painting canvas with palpable dynamics. 

“Sekhmet” series can say well about it. We see the evolutionary dynamics of human species in parallel of animal species in that series. “Four Sekhmets on Red; Two Sekhmets on Blue; and Sekhmet on Top” repeat the simulated images of human and lion, but the presentation of simulation makes the images truly different to each other. It indicates Khaled Hafez may like to play with the iconic images of Power and Politics with animated satire. 

… … …

Khaled Hafez_7, Four Sekhmets on Red, mixed media on canvas, 2009

Source: khaledhafez.net; Four Sekhmets on Red, mixed media on canvas by Khaled Hafez, 2009

… Khaled’s painting canvas is an eventful newspaper. Objects presenting them to supply some headline materials that they are busy to do something for life but the purpose is not clear or covered by fuzziness. Reversely the repetitive presence of African animals where they move in the painting frame as like His Majesty is walking in the Garden of Eden with immovable grandeur. This representation reminds the uniqueness of Afro locality, where it yet like to stand on its self-prejudice and pride.
… … …

Image of power obeys fixity and except for this obedience, it cannot stand permanently to its static symbol; however, a reverse image also constructs itself as a protester and fixity breaker aback the images that made power a problem for the powerless. The image of powerless means a series construction of dominated icons; for instance the common people and middle or lower class members of the society always see them dominated by the dominion icons. Dominion represents the iconic image that may validate power as a unique metaphor so it can dominate all other icons. Anyway, this is not an end of the story; rather an upturn silently grows into the mind of those individuals who are dominated. 

This upturn then delivers a reverse image that echoed the images of “rebellion and replacement”. Rebellion then creates the iconic images what we called movement; it happened against those icons that tried to dominate others. Prometheus was one of the remotest mutineers who iconized “rebellion” when he stole fire and gave it to the mortals by going against Zeus’ command and dominance. The God of Olympus treats Prometheus a trickster and later punished him, but his rebellion iconized the moral that the icon of rebellion can shake those icons that represent fixity and dominance

Khaled Hafez_8, Sekhmets on Top with Rinners, mixed media on canvas, 2009

Source: khaledhafez.net; Sekhmet on Top With Runners, mixed media on canvas by Khaled Hafez, 2009

… We are seated on a peak where the human world is destined to take the burden of intermingled images and fated to repeat them over again. This is a new world bottled by the old wine. Definition of humanity sounds greener here as if it just sprouts with new flesh and breathe; actually, it is nothing but a repetition of intermingled images with exaggeration. We are the repercussion of images those we think have never seen before, while they echoed the same old narrative with tricky declivity.
… … …

Where dominance appeared with drudgery and cruelty the birth of reverse images that mean protest, movement, rebellion or upsurge is inevitable. This binary opposition once incited Spartacus to play his iconic rule as mutineer; the similar was happening in all over the human civilization phases from when power appeared as an icon of establishment and hegemony over others. The same images repeat in the modern era when 1857’s great mutiny happened in India, when the October Revolution happened in Russia, and when Che Guevara created the images that made him an inspiring icon of revolutionary spirits. The same trend repeated even in today’s world when we experienced the recent images of Tiananmen Square Protest in China, experienced the flavor of Arab Spring in the street of Cairo, or see people move towards the Wall Street in New York for resisting the drudgery of statehood machinery. Michel Foucault once surmised the whole trend in his iconic comment, “…where there is power there is resistance.” 

The iconic resistance against power can turn as a risk factor for the images where state machinery, corporate agencies, intellectual tools, armed forces, militant ideologies, even the fundamental images of knowledge and wisdom combined them to build the concrete icon of established supremacy over the majority. The majority in here could represent its identity under the icons of race, nationality, religious group, white or black skin community, member of moribund aborigines, immigrants, and even such individual who fight for the freedom of speech. We can treat Khaled’s “Huston Runner and angel” series to exemplify it. 

The representative of “majority” icon then feel insecure against the structured and regimented attack of such minority that represents elites and bourgeois as the owner of “Power” icon. This is the battling ground from where “anarchy” and “chaos” can sprout by sudden and iconized “anarchism” like a wrecking force of destruction and disorder. “Nutes of Sarajevo” with its bit abstraction and kinetic color approach reflex how images, symbols, and iconography break the order of things due to the regimental hegemony of power icon in all over the globe. 

Khaled Hafez_9, Nutes of Sarajevo

Source: khlaedhafez.net; Nutes of Sarajevo by Khaled Hafez

… The narrative of human civilization is essentially a dynamic whisper of simulated images; it looked contrasting in our eyes because to the different pace of time, where an old image appeared remote and ambiguous when we compare it with youngling new. Actually, a mere difference rest behind there; for instance, the images of ancient or medieval tyrant kingship has little difference with today’s democracy monger kingship; if we consider how the power images played its rule in remote and nearest past, and how they repeat the game even in today’s world. 
… … ..

The consequent representation of things in Khaled’s animated canvas then lead us to see our faces in the mirror. It provoked us to consider the reality that the problem of humanity is as well the simulated iconography of problem-maker humans. The armed force and other statehood machinery always aim the gun to kill somebody, but they actually killed themselves. Anybody can aim a gun to anybody, but he killed actually his own soul mates. Khaled paintistry appeared as a reminder that duality and dueling both begin from this moral point of life. The collision of civilization is not a Nature-made entity; rather we are the architect who architected the cruel images with orderly fashion. History of the collision has begun in the remote past and today we set our mind to think it essential phenomenon for progress and forwardness. It might be the greatest tragedy for humanity in this animated world of things. 

… … …

Khaled Hafez_10, Knsola Flight Series

Source: anotherafrica.net; Kinsola Flight Series Work by Khaled Hafez

… We see they are running, flying, escaping, dancing, walking, and showing their masculinity with animation like hastiness; as if they are the hitchhiker of this confused time. Yes, they are in hurry; on the opposite, we see them eventually unconscious to the fact that they are in hurry and pace. When the characters of life are flying or running in the limited spacetime, they have no time to ask about their hurriedness. It is just likely similar to the image where a man takes a leap into the void despite to know this that where he jumps, as because the destination of the flight is uncertain to him.
… … …

This is a new world where images of amity often collide with animosity. The fragrance of love and attachment totters by confusion and soon it collides with hatred. No morals are eternal here that could be treated as a reward for honesty; instead, they collide with immoral within the twinkling of eyes. Fairy-looking happiness walks like a toddler and dash with tragic misfortune. Power collides with the fear of losing power. Divinity threatened and busy to wrestle with no-divinity. The life-giver atoms could collide at any moment by the life-taking reverses. We are living in a pretentious world where everything is looking fine-tuned and over certain, but they fragmented by pieces when collides with uncertainty rings the bell. The essence of super-human is a faint shadow and soon replaced by the ghostly non-human. 

We are the resident of a strange planet where replacement is the only survivor. Everything is in hurry to take the ephemeral flight and only God knows where! Khaled Hafez might realize the collided duality and tries to engrave all this contrast in his canvas, so seer can feel something quickly shifted and replaced by one another, and time is none but a character of ambiguous disorder between signs. His animated paintistry echoed the truth with pop art fancy. 

… … …

Khaled Hafez_11, Flight of the half-gods, 2009 (detail)

Source: anotherafrica.net;  Flight of the half-gods, 2009 (detail) by Khaled Hafez
… Images in that sense carried some shaking fragility. An improvised version of the image reflects binary opposition; one image opposes another in that opposition and yonder another then make a conflict with others; nonetheless, they iconized them by this way to reproduce the fixed meaning of a particular image over again. Thus, we cannot say images are inept to guide humans or they are aloof to tell something about life’s venture.
… … …

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