The jewels of my career
“Painting is my life, it is like breathing to me,” stated Syrian-born artist Marwan Kassab-Bachi (1934–2016), known simply as Marwan, in an interview when asked about his creative practice that remained uninterrupted, even as he worked at a tannery for eight years between 1962 and 1970. Marwan moved to Berlin from Damascus in 1957 in order to study at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, and remained in Germany for nearly six decades, becoming the first Arab member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in 1994.
Best known for his depictions of the human head or ‘face landscapes’, Marwan’s work explores the human condition through a deep investigation of emotions, intense psychological states, and inner passions. Featuring mask-like faces, imposing human figures and contorted bodies, his paintings draw on a range of human emotions, offering a window into the inner world of subjective human experience. Featured in this exhibition are Marwan’s masterpieces from the 1960s and the 1970s, of which very few remain in existence. Reflecting on his work from this critical period, Marwan asserted that the Barjeel Art Foundation’s collection holds “the jewels of my career”.
The exhibition is organized by the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah in collaboration with Lempertz, Berlin.