Omar Hassan was born in 1987 in Milan, Italy to an Italian mother and an Egyptian father. He grew up in two different cultures and this aroused in him a deep curiosity towards the new, the different and the outside world.
He graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, having studied painting under Alberto Garutti, a well-known exponent of contemporary Italian art. The conceptual influence that rubbed off on the artist during his studies at Brera Academy has shaped his modus operandi in the gestation of each project: the idea, the reasoning, and the concept underlies every artistic gesture. The result of this process is that works must always be characterised by an aesthetic autonomy and by the artist’s unconscious that is produced naturally during execution. Hassan is obsessed and fascinated by the action painting of the great masters such as Fontana, Pollock and Manzoni, and uses this technique as the basis of his research, to enclose and narrate an entire philosophy, an entire culture, or a new concept. And it is a spray, the first real breath of the spray can, that embraces the entire culture of street art, giving rise to the series entitled Injections (among the most famous works is the cover of the 256th issue of La Lettura, the weekly cultural insert of Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera) and the Lights series where the artist paints lights on canvas.
Omar also used this style in his dialogues between painting and sculpture at the 54th Venice Biennale, in the institutional exhibition at the Chiesetta della Misericordia. The sculptures camouflaged themselves with the paintings, but also with the space, because the artist loves to work and create site-specific works, mixing them and following the original essence of the space. Breaking Through is another action painting series, in which the fist symbolises all the meanings of a discipline in a single gesture: "I’m not punching to destroy, I’m creating". In this series, the noble art of boxing is celebrated with 121 large canvases (in the black and white background version). They are all unique pieces, representing the 121 rounds fought by the artist during his boxing career. The artist wanted to emphasise the conceptual aspect of this sport: "Boxing is the metaphor of life par excellence. We all have our crosses to bear and we must fight. If we fall to the ground we have to get back up, we have pauses in a corner, but then we are forced to fight again. Each of us is the boxer of our own experience". All the pictorial gestures are marked by time, a constant that is very dear to the artist. He includes it in all his works, predominantly in the Time Lines series, presented for the first time at the Villa Reale in Monza, where the canvases represent the ‘working wall’ in Hassan’s studio, a wall that he has been covering for years with canvases, like a tapestry. He marks them with the date of when they are mounted, white and clean, and the date of when they are removed once completed. One of the works is titled ‘From 5/3/2016 to 5/3/2018, two years of studio work’. The objective is to track time to give importance to what underlies everything.