20th Century Art / Middle East

20th Century Art / Middle East

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 30. Untitled (From the Marionnette Series).


Untitled (From the Marionnette Series)

Lot Closed

March 30, 02:28 PM GMT


5,000 - 7,000 GBP

Lot Details



1934 - 2016

Untitled (From the Marionnette Series)

signed and dated June '12 on the reverse

oil on canvas

33 by 22cm. 13 by 8¾in.

framed: 34.4 by 23.2cm. 13½by 9⅛in.

Gifted by the artist to the present owner in 2014

“The return of the marionette in Marwan’s painting thus reveals a side of his art that also allows a better understanding of the main theme of the heads. Marwan doesn’t represent anything figuratively, if re-presentation means to repeat something already apparent. Even in the early work of the 1960s, which was exhibited in the Berlinische Galerie in 2006, it is clear that his art has a quality of performance that doesn’t shy away from theatricality. In his mature work this trait has been refined into a kind of pictorial ‘hand-writing’, a free emotional calligraphy that literally performs the figurative motif; evokes it through the rhythmic, graphically controlled chromatic structure, without relying on a preconceived reality. Marwan’s painting is neither based on a given sensation nor set against the background of a particular meaning. It also doesn’t simply amount to the colouristic and formal texture on the canvas, but finds its visual, emotional and associative concretion in the act of being perceived by the viewer. The opulence of the painted surface, the bursting of delectable, synaesthetically captivating essences in these pictorial tapestries may recall André Masson’s assertion that splendour in Western painting has always come from the Orient. But at least as significant, if not more so, is Marwan’s uncompromising acceptance of a maxim of European modernism which Rainer Maria Rilke, the poet of exalted emotions, associated with the figure of the marionette in his Duino Elegies: ‘I will not have these half-filled masks! No, no / rather the doll. That’ s full. I’ll force myself / to bear the husk, the wire, and even that face / of sheer appearance. Here! I am in my seat’ (Translated by Michael Turnbull, Robert Kudielka, ‘Marwan and the Marionette’, Sinn und Form, October 2007, online)