Marwan Sahmarani

Marwan was born in 1970 in Lebanon. Lives and works in Beirut.

Confronting political, literary and historical subjects, -often grounding
his positions in the history of art- Marwan Sahmarani’s work knows
no inhibitions or confines. By deconstructing the foundations of
painting, revisiting its history and great Masters, Sahmarani explores
its very roots.

With just few strokes of charcoal, light brushes of paint and traces
of pastel, all of which merely graze the paper, his painting suddenly
transform from tender caress into full-fledged battle. The artist
brushes with death and flirts with madness, leaving no viewer
untouched. Perfectly mastered strokes translate a unique language
that is once raw and bare, and has become Sahmarani’s very own

In the series Monuments for Dictators, Sahmarani resorts to a
single format and theme, yet the result is an infinite palette
of expressions, emotions and forms, all within the same
230 x 70cm space. He composes, decomposes, wounds,
even tortures his subjects, to the point of extracting their
souls and splashing them across paper, where whiteness
represents a void; the loneliness known only to the powerful.
These works express man's quest for power over one another,
the universe and God. Man has known such dictators throughout
his history: the men of religion, the speech makers and givers,
the demagogues. Sahmarani lays them down in their bare truth
(demented, perverted, repressed), displayed like hunting
trophies, reminding us that despite evolving times, history is
bound to repeat itself.

Why this message? Perhaps Sahmarani is making a
prophecy, where dictators are demons, and paintings the
shrouds testifying to the physical and mental sacrifice, borne
in the struggle between the artist and his demon? Only time,
and human conscience, will tell whether Sahmarani is one of
those narrating the great story of art. And though he cannot
know with certainty whether these monuments will ever
be built, there is no doubt that the drawing themselves are
indeed monumental.
(Fadi Mogabgab)