20th Century Art / Middle East

20th Century Art / Middle East

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 31. Untitled (From the Rêve Series).

Safwan Dahoul

Untitled (From the Rêve Series)

Lot Closed

March 29, 02:31 PM GMT


50,000 - 70,000 GBP

Lot Details


Safwan Dahoul

B. 1961

Untitled (From the Rêve Series)

signed and dated 2000

oil and pencil on canvas

121.5 by 190.5 cm. 47½ by 75 in.

framed: 139 by 208 cm. 54¾ by 81¾ in.

Christie's, Dubai, International Modern & Contemporary Art, 27 October 2009, Lot 166
Private Collection, Paris (acquired directly from the above sale by the present owner)

Born in 1961 in Hama, Syria, Safwan Dahoul is known for his unique and innovative techniques of figuration, which throughout his three-decades-long career, achieved to describe the fluctuations in feelings and psyche within the Arab world. His wide-ranging influences span from Cubist to Assyrian and Pharaonic art (Samawi & Farhat 2009). By playing with a variety of styles over the years, Dahoul built a potent artistic signature, distinguishable by a melancholic and monochromatic aura. This trademark atmosphere culminated in his seminal Dream series, in which Dahoul investigated the physical and psychological manifestations of feelings of alienation, loneliness and yearning in the course of human life (Ayyam Gallery 2018).

In the present work, the female protagonist personifies the sense of prostration that takes over the body in times of mourning or separation. Her bent silhouette, empty eyes and loose hands emphasize her state of distress, while the empty yet narrow setting confers her minimised silhouette a monumental, almost overwhelming physicality. However, this claustrophobic sentiment is somewhat relieved by the pastel blues and yellows that cover the upper part of the composition, symbolizing an ethereal escape from the dark floor on which lays the heroine. By juxtaposing two contrasting sections on the painting, Dahoul attracts the viewer’s attention on the conflicting feelings possessing the woman’s mind, emphasized by her body language. Both defensive yet surrendered, the painting suggests a form of weariness slowly giving place to serenity.

Samawi & M. Farhat, Safwan Dahoul, Damascus, 2009

So close and still so far: Syria’s Safwan Dahoul – artist profile. APR 15, 2018 Ayyam Gallery, Barjeel Art Foundation, Edge Of Arabia, Kriti Bajaj, Safwan Dahoul, The Samawi Collection.