Abdel Kader Guermaz

Abstract shapes and subdued colour schemes dominate the canvases of Abdel Kader Guermaz, a major player in Algeria’s modern art movement.

Guermaz, who graduated from l’École des Beaux-Arts d'Oran in 1940, emigrated to Paris in 1961 amid his home country’s eruptive struggle for independence from France, which succeeded the following year. The artist, who became associated with School of Paris, befriended French artists such as Bissière, Manessier, Bazaine and Vieira da Silva. Subtlety and minimalism characterise Guermaz’ artistic approach, giving form to his spiritual meditations and inspiring French art critic Pierre Rey to call him the painter of silence and light. Although his most-disciplined work consists of textured white monochrome paintings, Guermaz began incorporating discernible shapes and softened segments of colour after 1975. His careful compositions emerge as weightless and timeless landscapes evoking both interior and exterior spaces.His work Rêve features, perhaps inadvertently, an anthropomorphic shape resembling a woman in profile.

Attaining critical success in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the artist was largely forgotten upon the 1981 closure of gallery Entremonde that represented him. Until his death in 1996, Guermaz continued to produce work probing the metaphysical relationship between visible world and the unseen. His artwork, featured in international museum collections, has been rediscovered in posthumous shows and texts.