Fateh al Moudarres

Born in Aleppo in 1922 ,Fateh al Moudarres was one of the pioneers of the modern art movement in Syria. He is also a  painter and sculptor. In the beginning the self-taught painter was working in a realistic style, he was inspired by Surrealism in the 1940s and 1950s, and he explained his work in verse and prose to the public. After studying at the "Accademia di Belle Arti", Rome (1954-60), he returned to Syria and developed a highly personal style that he described as 'surrealistic and figurative with a strong element of abstraction.' Moudarres's work was influenced by the icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Syrian Classical art, which he studied in the National Museum of Damascus. His works became increasingly abstract in the 1960s, although after 1967 he expressed political themes. He studied at the "Ecole des Beaux-Arts" in Paris(1969 to 1972). His paintings have an accomplished sense of composition and balance of colour. Moudarres trained several generations of a University of Damascus. Upon his return from Italy late 1950s, Moudarres abandoned the traditional formulas of painting prevalent in Syria and began to create a language where his vocabulary was drawn from the primitive and ancient arts of his country. In his expressionistic idiom reality is mixed with fiction.
The heroes are taken both from the present and from ancient civilizations, and are both nameless farmers and legendary figures. Their square-shaped heads recall those of Assyrian statuary, and those of the figures in Palmyrene frescos, and also of early Christian iconography. These characters are enriched with warm and vibrant colours and executed in a variety of ways, sometimes with dense application of paint, sometimes scratched, or stippled, or with the addition of sand. Often a specific group of colours, such as red and black, or white and fawn, will dominate the painting.

Growing up Fateh Moudarres spent much time in the countryside, but the agricultural crisis of the 1960s forced him to relocate to Damascus.
Moudarres, along with several contemporaries, often sought to depict the everyday people and the problems they encountered. He was especially moved by the life of ordinary people in the Syrian countryside. For them, what on the surface which can often incorrectly be characterized as an idyllic existence was in fact a way of life marred by problems caused by social upheavals. The present composition depicts the life of the simple peasants, showing the country bride and wedding party.
In such a scene one might expect to see joyful celebration, but instead there is a palpable aura of sadness, as Moudarres reveals something of his feelings about suffering and helplessness of these women in the rural areas. He Passed away in Damascus 1999.

 

Nada Haj Khiddr