Mustafa Sabbagh

Biography

Mustafa Sabbagh

Mustafa Sabbagh was born in Amman (Jordan). Italo-palestinian, raised between Europe and Middle East, his imprinting is cosmopolitan, while his attitude is nomadic. When, at age 6, he discovers an old Polaroid in a drawer, for the first time he comes in contact with the love of a lifetime: the one for photography. He moves to Italy in order to earn a master degree in Architecture at the IUAV – University of Venice; thereafter he starts out on London, where he shapes himself as an assistant to a Master of Photography the likes of Richard Avedon. Even collaboration with the illustrious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, inexhaustible hive of talents, including – among others – Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, dates back to his London years. Once returned in Italy, he picks and chooses Ferrara as an haven to which he can come back from his frequent travels around the world – as a professor, during workshops dedicated to the photographic medium, and from shootings published on magazines the likes of Arena, The Face, Italian Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, Rodeo, Kult, Sport & Street.

As a nomadic cosmopolitan, Sabbagh is intolerant to fall in line with the mainstream fashion shooting standard, leaning toward a kind of counter-code of aesthetics – nowadays widely recognized as his stylistic feature – halfway between fashion and art, where punctum is the skin, the veins, majestically freak masks, the multidimensionality of black and light, a visionary styling created by himself and transferred to livid backdrops, to ovals as cameos, to diptychs translating form into context, all interpreted through the absolute subversion of codes, in dress such as in gender.

An aesthetic of discomfort, recondite desires in nightmares’ clothing; an harmony of imperfection – investigated through the medium of photography, as well as through video-art, furthermore delved by means of short films, advertising campaigns and music videos – that Sabbagh moves with self-assurance from slicks, to the white cube of the most important galleries in the world, often putting himself in dialogue with Masters of the past – such as Boldini, Zurbarán and Matisse – as a natural depositary of a continuum (i.e. of an anti-continuum), both aesthetic and congenital.

Often protagonist of interviews and documentaries inquiring into his work, his personality and his stylistic codes, in 2013 Sky Arte HD, through the series Photographers – dedicating to his episode a première held at the Madre Museum, in Naples – elected him as one of the 8 most significant artists of the contemporary italian scene. To date, Mustafa Sabbagh is even recognized as one of the 100 most influential photographers in the world, and one of the 40 most important nude portraitists – the only one from Italy, on an international basis.

His artworks are included in several permanent collections, both in Italy and abroad.

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