• International Modern & Contemp auction at Christies

    Sale 7804

    International Modern & Contemporary Art

    27 October 2009, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 31

    Fateh Moudarres (Syrian, 1922-1999)

    Untitled

    Price Realised  

    Fateh Moudarres (Syrian, 1922-1999)
    Untitled
    signed 'Moudarres' and signed in Arabic (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    78¾ x 48¾in. (200 x 124cm.)
    Painted circa 1970s


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    In many of his paintings, Fateh Moudarres portrayed a faceless crowd, the generalized figures representing a powerless mass stripped of identity. The figures are often shown without a mouth, reflecting their inability to express personal opinion, or with their eyes shut, oblivious to the events that surround them. In the mind of the artist, personal tragedies, such as the death of his two children at an early age, were linked to the political events and social tragedies in the Middle East.

    In such works there is a powerful sense of collective loss, just as Moudarres and his contemporaries felt the loss of the Golan Heights and the pain of the civil war in Lebanon. Ideas such as the Loss of the Arab Dream, human cruelty, lack of justice and morality and the transformation of the human being into a monster, all come through strongly in his interviews.

    In this totemic image, built up of many figures one above the other, Moudarres is creating a visual analogue for his holistic philosophy in which events are connected to each other, each one building on the events previous. This concept enables him to understand aspects of current events, such as the plight of the Palestinians within the context of a continuous history of the region. These human columns remind him of the stone columns at Palmyra, for example, and their capacity for survival. Moudarres reads analogies into religious symbols, such as the Cross, which for him both a link between Man and God and also between Man and Man. Moudarres mistrusts the horizontal links between Man and Man, instead preferring the vertical link between Man and God, hence the columnar composition. Moreover, by creating this vertical land, which is always looking to the north, Moudarres idealizes his childhood memories in Northern Syria.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, DAMASCUS