• International Modern & Contemp auction at Christies

    Sale 7893

    International Modern & Contemporary Art, Including Masterpieces from The Collection of Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi

    27 April 2010, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 76

    Halim Al-Karim (Iraqi, b. 1963)

    Goddess of Beirut

    Price Realised  

    Halim Al-Karim (Iraqi, b. 1963)
    Goddess of Beirut
    titled, numbered, signed and dated 'Goddess of Beirut 2/3 Halim ALKARIM 1985' (on the reverse)
    lambda print
    81.8 x 46.5in. (208 x 118cm.)
    Executed in 1985, this work is number two from an edition of three and two artist proofs


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    Two dark, almost sombre, silhouettes are represented in Goddess of Beirut. These figures appear to be women, as their dresses come down too short and make their high heels clearly visible. Yet the blurred image which Halim Al-Karim has created contains a somewhat lyrical mysticism. The figures seem to be floating within, in or out of the photograph, confirming Al-Karims statement that The out of focus images imply an uncertainty of context, time and place. Despite this timelessness and intangibility of his photograph, Al-Karim succeeds in conveying an aspect of his vision of an urban society free of violence. The two womens elegance and femininity with their glamorous high heels are shadowed by the traditional black dress and their blank ghostly faces, which masks their true identity. The term goddess which the artist uses in the title brings back Al-Karim to his painful childhood, when he was hiding in the desert from Saddam Husseins regime during the First Gulf War. He survived his three years in the desert only through the help of a Bedouin woman, who brought him food and water and also taught him about gypsy and mystical customs. These two Goddesses of Beirut seem to directly reflect Al-Karims imagination from when he was a child, depicting the strange deities described by the Bedouin woman as undefined figures from a mirage-like world.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A MIDDLE EASTERN PRIVATE COLLECTION