Marwan - Untitled (Kopf)
Oil on canvas. 38 x 55 cm. Framed. Signed and dated 'Marwan 73'. Signed and dated 'Marwan 73' and 'Marwan Sep - 73' resp. verso on canvas and stretcher and each with statement of place 'Paris'. Designated by an unknown hand verso on stretcher.
1973 was a successful year for the painter, in which Marwan received a scholarship for the Cité des Artes. In Paris Marwan was open to new influences that arose under the overwhelming impression of French art history. In addition to his 'facial landscapes' and 'veil pictures', in the 1970s the artist worked on the first of his 'heads', which would become one of the decisive themes of his work.
The work offered here shows the broad, open areas of the head picture, typical features of Marwan's facial landscapes. The broad plane of the face invites the viewer to linger on the pictorial architecture of the head. In its openness it confides in its counterpart, confidently turns the portrait inside out and reveals deep traces of experience in every contour of his face. At the same time the look testifies of haunting longing, symbolising deep human needs.
“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.” (Jörn Merkert, Marwan, exhib.cat. Museum of Modern Art Bagdad, Berlin 1980, p.53)'
The present piece has a corresponding version as a veil image. (Schleier II, 1973. 130 x 195 cm, in: Marwan, exhib.cat. Museum of Modern Art Bagdad 1980, Berlin 1980, p.11)
With written confirmation by Marwan, Berlin, via email dated 1 October 2015.
Private collection, Bavaria