artist
Marwan

Syria 1934-Germany 2016.

"Marwan paints images of human beings, very subjective images, never individual portraits. The person portrayed is always exemplary, unique and anonymous all at once. Such images… reveal a crisis of identity, [but] they also expose its contrary: an identity with consciousness and feelings, an identity with the world. Marwan’s paintings question life and ego, touch upon the secret, and circle about it, reflecting it. Emerging in his paintings as a vision – as a "face"- the secret, disappearing, proclaims itself, vanishes. There to be seen, it again withdraws."

"Marwan is obsessed by faces because for him they are a means of expressing the dramatic depth of life. I do not know any artist anywhere who to such an extent has adopted the head , the monumentalized head, as practically his only theme, in which the world can be laid bare and last question put into painting. It is understandable, given our age, that Marwan does not indicate any ideals. He reveals conditions and experiences. It is important to keep in mind that in his paintings human beings are never presented whole - they are always fragmentarily corresponding to the symbolic of concealment or of emptiness. But this fragmentation is also the formal analogy to the formentioned visionary qualities: the slightly opened veil, for example, contain textures of unveiling, revelation, exposure, search for truth and discovery. In recent paintings, where darkness partially conceals the face, a light not only illuminates them, but contains in itself the image of enlightenment."

-Excerpt from text by Jörn Merkert. See full text.
Marwan, exhibition catalog, Darat al Funun - The Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, 1995

Marwan led and directed the Darat al Funun Summer Academy (1999-2003), which brought together 60 participating artists from the Arab world.