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Mahjoub Ben Bella (Algerian, b. 1946)

Puzzle I

Mahjoub Ben Bella (Algerian, b. 1946)
Puzzle I
signed, titled and dated 'Mahjoub Ben Bella Puzzle 1 1996' (o
acrylic on canvas
63¾ x 51in. (162 x 130cm.)
Painted in 1996
Canvas Magazine, Vol. 5, No.4, July - August 2009, pp. 108-109 (detail illustrated in colour).
Tourcoing, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Mahjoub Ben Bella, 18 January - 2 April 1997.
Roubaix, Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, Mahjoub Ben Bella 18 January - 2 April 1997.
Sèvres, Musée de la Céramique, Summer 1998, p. 88 (illustated in colour).
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Please note that the present work is titled, signed and dated twice '"Puzzle I" Mahjoub Ben Bella 1996' on the reverse.

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William Lawrie
William Lawrie

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Lot Essay

Ben Bella's compositions are characterized by strong colour and repeated application of sign-like marks which recall script. Colours are concentrated into forms, filled with talismanic script. The symbols are based on Arabic calligraphy, blended with the colours of Western Abstract Expressionism. Ben Bella's signs and symbols have discarded their literal meaning altogether, retaining only pictorial forms. His densely populated works make equal sense in both a European and an Arab context.

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