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拍品詳情

20th Century Art / Middle East

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倫敦

Mahmoud Sabri
1927 - 2012
IRAQI
WATER (FROM THE QUANTUM REALISM SERIES)
oil on canvas
87 by 87cm.; 34 1/4 by 34 1/4 in.
Executed circa 1970. 
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來源

Collection of the artist
Thence by descent 

展覽

London, La Galleria Pall Mall, Mahmoud Sabri 1927-2012; First Retrospective, 2013 

出版

Dr. H. Touqmachi, Mahmoud Sabri: His Life, Art & Thoughts (in Arabic), Amman 2013, pp. 109 & 255, illustrated in colour

相關資料

Sotheby’s is delighted to present Water by Mahmoud Sabri. Born in 1927 Baghdad, Sabri pursued a degree in social sciences at Loughborough University. While in England his interest in painting led to evening classes and eventually his debut exhibition at the Iraqi Embassy in 1947. Whilst pursuing a successful banking career until the age of 32, Sabri met with Khalid Al Qassab, Faik Hassan and others who would later form the Societé Primitive, exhibiting with them at the Al-Qassab residence in 1952. Despite academic and professional goals in the finance world, Sabri maintained a strong link to the art world and to his own practice. Sensitised to social issues through his education and a growing love of art, Sabri soon resigned from the bank to take responsibility for establishing the first Exhibitions Department in Iraq. A socio-politically engaged artist, like many from the region, Sabri felt compelled to serve a purpose and used art as a tool to speak out against repression. Well-read in Marxist thought, Sabri gravitated towards Realism and became an active writer and intellectual; it was these affiliations that led to Sabri’s near-eradication from Iraqi history, as he often spoke out against the Ba’ath party, resulting in a manifesto that ultimately led to his exile. During this time, in 1960 Sabri went to the Surikov Institute of Art in Russia, studying under artist Alexander Deyneka. He not only impressed the artist but experienced a developmental and stylistic shift, and lived the last decade of his life in London as a member of the Iraqi Avant-garde artists group, and founder of the Society of Iraqi artists. He produced several publications on art, philosophy and politics and became known as a leading Iraqi artist. Dubbed one of the ‘big three’ alongside Jewad Selim and Shakir Hasan Al-Said, crucial members of the Iraqi modern art movement (see Acqua Ferita the Iraqi Venice Biennale Pavilion Catalogue, 2011) Sabri’s career has followed a similar trajectory to that of several Middle Eastern artists in exile. Largely ignored for a considerable part of his life, his importance has only latterly come to light, resulting in a flourishing following and appreciation that quickly took on a life of its own.

In the late 1960s, Mahmoud Sabri experienced a total change of direction on life and art, coming away from his previous political and social notions and moving towards a scientific understanding of the universe and therefore art. He stripped his art down to scientific equations and explored the infinite creative possibilities that he believed had transformational qualities.

Spurred by the space, technological and scientific advances of the 1960s, Sabri saw quantum physics and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, as a basis for creating art and linking the two together. In 1971 his ideas were formulated and published in a manifesto entitled Quantum Realism – an Art of the Techno-Nuclear Age and the art he produced following this principle was exhibited with the launch of his manifesto in Prague in the same year; it would sadly be Sabri’s last exhibition before his death. The artistic language of the new art (colour, form and structure) is derived from the system of line spectra associated with different atoms and the relations linking spectral-lines, energy levels and electrons. “In the 1980s,” he said, “my work changed its direction by focusing on the analysis of the structure of the atom. This transition from molecular to atomic structure manifested itself in a further change of artistic language. In Phase 1, only selected visible spectral lines were involved; these were translated into colour areas and treated as the distinctive colour characteristics of atoms/ molecules. In Phase 2, both visible and invisible spectral lines were involved and treated as the distinctive colour characteristics of atoms and space-time… These drawings are to me (as the mathematical equations are to a mathematician) a means of verifying the reality of the artistic structural solutions as well as grasping their possible deeper meanings and implications.” (Roxane Zand, Ed., Geometry and Art in the Modern Middle East, Milan 2019, p. 140). 

Sabri believed that Quantum Realism addresses the uniqueness of our age in a new form of relation between humans and nature, or a new form of perceptual activity. He saw the old perception of mass-object-form as being gradually negated and replaced by a new perception of energy-process-structure. The artistic creativity provided Sabri with the possibility of unifying art and science, and looking at the fundamental laws governing nature as a basis for his avant-garde art. His dramatic transition from the figural to geometric and mathematical forms meant that the latter half of his work bore closer resemblance to the mosaics of his native Iraq than he had anticipated, and while never abandoning his concern for the socio-politics of the region, this latter evolution took him to more universal and philosophical concepts.

20th Century Art / Middle East

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倫敦