Shawki Youssef

The tense and tormented bodies appearing in Shawki Youssef’s artworks bring to mind the effects of emotional trauma and oppression on the human body. Anonymous representations, his dislocated figures typify the collective human struggle and form an animated observation of societies under constant pressure of violence, war and loss of humanity.

Born in Beirut, Youssef studied fine art and intercultural mediation. These combined interests feed into his work, which explores conditions of Lebanese contemporary society and their effects on human beings. Not limiting himself to painting and drawing, Youssef works with various media, including video, performance and text.

Mud, Iron and Ink for a Perfect Crime is part of a recent series of paintings exploring the inherent visceral consequences of anxiety and injustice on the human body. Youssef’s process is also rooted in painting the bodily and unconscious experience linked to ego, desire and social expression. Distorted limbs and body parts often appear fragmented and caught between torture and decay. Reflecting both theoretical discourse and study of social trauma, Youssef’s work taps into delicate individual stories of vulnerability and fear.