9 June – 6 July 2015
Contorted bodies and searching faces reach out of Marwan’s oil paintings and etchings, seeking the viewer and inviting them in to explore the artist’s focus on his road to self-discovery. Questions of identity and contemplations of the self are encapsulated in a palette of vibrant colours, and executed in forms that emphasize the very physical nature of these highly intellectualized exercises by Marwan. Physical self-awareness can also be read in the subtle, yet unmistakable, notion of sexual agitation; and loneliness is presented as both mental and physical realities.
A life spent in self-imposed exile did not shield Marwan from the politics of his native Syria and its emotional and mental impact on his work; nor was he immune to the repercussions of the Cold War era politics of his adopted country. As a Syrian, the identity to which Marwan protectively adheres to and repeatedly returns to in his work, the themes of political strife and war, and their devastating psychological impact can be clearly inferred in his work. His technical and aesthetic style also tells of an artist who was engaged with the questions and fast-changing artistic trends of Cold War Berlin, a city that against all odds gave birth to artists and trends that allowed it to flourish after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.