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Baseem Rayyes Personalizes the Horror, Fear and Feelings of Modern Man's Solitude

Baseem Rayyes Personalizes the Horror, Fear and Feelings of Modern Man's Solitude

Al-Ittihad Newpaper - Omar Shabana


Syrian artists Baseem Rayyes tries, in his gallery (A Wall Grows Near Me) in Dubai, to personalize the amount of horror, fear and feelings of solitude which human lives with in this modern time; these feeling, which man tries his best to get rid of them through modern means of communication, are supposed to cross many walls, which they really have done so far, but, in parallel, they created more hard walls apparently. These feelings are expressed by work which seem cruel in presenting humans and the characters which represent them.

This gallery, which stays until 11th of next month, in Vindemia Gallery in Dubai, includes 22 different size paintings, most of which are big-size, presents a new experience of symbolic and expressionist dimensions by the artist; where realistic is mixed by nightmares, and the intimate with the wild. So, the artist recalls primitive man's soul in the moments of crisis and war_ in loneliness and solitude. He recalls many kinds of deformation which man lives, and expresses them by colors and shapes away from typical restraints and meanings.

Man, in Rayyes's works changes into unreal creature; a monster with dirty beard and long fingernails which are similar to animal claws or a mythical creature. He is the man who is deformed by modern civilization; a creature with six curved fingers and a bird's head, or a monster with wide open white eyes staring at the world. There is, also, the mechanic-human creature which refers to the extent of man drowning in material and technological life which creates his solitude. The theme of wall refers to the solitude and boundaries among people.

Rayyes's colors and artistic shapes are strong, brave and free of all traditional lines; they are related to the revolution against traditions of mixing colors by using them in a wild style that fits the spirit, meaning and references the artist wants to leave to the audience. Large size of some paintings and the enlarging of some characters gives the impression of the enormous horror and fear man faces. He uses the expressionist language in order to affect the audience by freeing them from the barriers that some people seek to construct.

Artist's works, in general, as we previously have seen in other galleries, talk about the lessons man learns in life, and how he must erase the things he does not want to see, as a try to grip the moments he desires to remember in their real colors. As they refer to the ugliness of the world, Rayyes's works also reflect the existence of beauty; there are characters with intimate but afraid faces which recall love and kindness. There are, also, childish shapes and worlds which gives his painting the ability to mix contradictions, which means refusing cruelty and insisting on passing over struggling; some really seek living in love and freedom.

In opening day, an 11-minute short film was realeased, (The boundaries of Grey) which is written and directed by Baseem Rayyes himself. The film tells the story of a press photographer, who is the last person alive in his destroyed town. He recorded the events with his camera, and remains alone to recall his photos and memories; he refuses to leave this destroyed place, and insists on living there to create a life out of the destruction, and a spot of beauty within this ugliness.

The film depends on two contradicting radio news; the first is the killing of 22 people with their dead bodies under the ruins, and no one cares about their death. The second is about a small cat falling into a hole, so all organizations rush to help in getting out the cat of this hole, and the mayor is blamed for neglecting such holes. The film is a first try by the artist who experiments and tries to create a visual language which expresses the content of the event; boundaries of the grey are the boundaries between black and white, life and death, beauty and ugliness, reality and memories.

Rayyes is also a short story writer, who won Al-Sharja Arab Creativity Prize – Short Story in 2010.

Translated by: Yazan el-Haj


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