ART ON 56TH has the pleasure to invite you to the exhibition of Zouhair Dabbagh 2000 – 2014
a private preview will be held on Wednesday February 19, 2014 starting 6 pm. The artist will be present.
Exhibition from February 19 to March 11, 2014.

Abdelleki Youssef

The Return
How difficult it is to write about Zouhair Dabbagh. For this man is a combination of an old friendship between the beauty of sculpting and a permanent bond with the ferocity of color. As a result you would not know where to start from, or what to write about! Or how to avoid mixing things up. Nowadays one cannot address the work of Dabbagh without his picture being brought forward in the college of Fine Arts in the seventies; a passionate young man working to create strikingly advanced works of art, where you would think they belonged to a sculptor in his fifties and not for a twenty two year old man. Years ago Dabbagh left in my gallery in Damascus a huge sculpture of two lovers. Every time an artist or a journalist visited me they asked about the name of the sculptor, I used to name one of the prominent historical French artists that specialized in cubism during the 20th century: Jack Fiyon. They all used to believe me, they were taken by the beauty of the surfaces and the unity of the language. I used to smile and tell them the truth: that an artist did the sculpture when he was still in his fourth year in the college of Fine Arts, confused.. They would not stop admiring it. Countermining himself Zouhair Dabbagh, neglected to complete his sculptures, indulging for years on end in all the worldly concerns and neglecting what he was great in, which was sculpting. What is needed in the Arab world is for sculptors with the skill and expertise of distinguished individuals similar to the likes of Jawad Salim or Marino Marini! After long years of absence – and I dare say the years of despair – resuming his work Dabbagh returned more experienced, his eyes more refined and accomplished with the years, yet his hands were imprisoned in the seventies. I believe that his greatest challenge today is to leave these years and what they signify behind him, without jumping into the abyss. Not because he is afraid of losing his art! But because his sense of responsibility leads him to restore the lost years before reaching the essential moment. Dabbagh works on two parallel lines: sculpting and painting. During the time he is working on the strength of the sculptured chunk, and the disintegration of its touch he works on paintings to manage a relentless conflict between the hot and cold colors and between a sane line of drawing people, and an emotional color with no inhibitions! We will not find at first glance the relationship between sculpting and painting! We need to gaze for sometime to discover that the rigidity of the sculptured chunk is similar to the durability and positions of the men and women in the paintings, and the liberty of color in paintings is synonymous with the heated passion attained from the touch of the rough texture of his sculptures. We have to search a little in our artistic memories, to see that the positions of his painted subjects remind us of the positioning invented by Michel Angelo. It also reminds us of the anxious raging feeling in the work of Giacometti. Moreover, he makes both molding clays from his private mix, which is not similar to anyone’s mix. Zouhair Dabbagh indulges nowadays in painting more than sculpting; like a child playing with joy and aggression with a new toy. But as for his favorite toy, which is sculpting; for it unwinds in the closet of his old possessions, he is not concerned with returning back to it! Today he wants to tame these fierce tigers: colors. In sculpting he continues to monitor his heroes the tragic Icaria who fall into empty space or architectural surfaces, as if they were part of the perfection of the circle and struggling to break free at the same time. In painting he manages a concealed dialogue between the figures of men and women sitting relaxed in their firm seats or.. In vacuum! All of them located in the same space, and none of them conversing anyone! Strikingly similar is the absence of communication amid the characters in the artwork and the lack of communication in our lives! This exhibition celebrates the creations of Dabbagh in the past few years: with his robust forms and splendid colors, and also his concern and internal puzzlement, creation done with the enthusiasm of a young man in his twenties and the experience of all that accumulated thereafter. This is a visual feast done by a master chef, “those who have eyes for observing let them behold..”

Zouhair Dabbagh

is a Syrian artist, born in Aleppo in 1953. He pursued his education and earned a Bachelor Degree in 1977 from the Faculty of Fine Arts – Sculpture Department, at the Damascus University. He participated in several exhibitions since 1970 and a few of his artworks are presented in the Damascus Museum, and in private collections in Ankara, Dubai, Germany, KSA, Paris, USA, Switzerland and Canada.