• International Modern & Contemp auction at Christies

    Sale 7804

    International Modern & Contemporary Art

    27 October 2009, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 12

    Safwan Dahoul (Syrian, b. 1961)

    Dream 12

    Price Realised  


    Safwan Dahoul (Syrian, b. 1961)
    Dream 12
    acrylic on canvas
    86½ x 141¾in. (220 x 360cm.)
    Painted in 2009

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    Elements of Northern European art from the late Gothic and early Renaissance make their appearance in the works of Safwan Dahoul. Dahoul formed a deep attachment to the Belgian and Dutch art during his doctoral studies in the 1990s at the Higher Institute of Plastic and Visual Arts (ESAPV) in Mons, Belgium. He was especially taken by Bruegel, Bosch and Knouf and by the religious art of that period. Dahoul's tendency towards Cubism gives his work a distinctive perspective that creates a characteristic expansiveness and depth. Unidentified faces frequently appear as his main subject and, seeking to express the inner essence of the human being through a considered regularity, Dahoul uses a reductive palette of muted colours.
    In Dahoul's paintings, the face has become a mask. Colour no longer exists. Emptiness, which has its own philosophy, has become one of the most important elements in his painting. He is looking for one colour and its gradations. When earth was created, there was only soil and sky. This explains his inclination towards earthy tones in his later paintings. In his own words the artist says that he has become colour blind. In order for him to paint with fresh hues, he needs to see these colours around in nature, but in his home city of Damscus he no longer sees them.

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