Fahar’s Current Painting

A central subject of the painting of Fahar Al-Salih is the building: as an elementary, yet universal construction and as an idea to illustrate socially and philosophically motivated content.

While Fahar initially developed the idea of individual tents and huts amidst wide landscapes or inhospitable thick forests – far from any civilization – in the impulsive conflict of broad brush strokes, he subsequently created abstracted city scenarios with a shimmering pastel colorfulness and a high amount of white. Tectonic blocks stand next to or on top of each other and sometimes merge into edged color patches. By being staggered into the image depth, they evoke accessibility. Sometimes the color base is porous and completely lacks stability. The fragility is inscribed into the progress of civilization, which is present as a notion in these works. The fact that the brush strokes are oriented vertically and that the transparency of the application is permeated by light reflections (besides the occasional inclusion of photographs) speaks against a completely non-figurative interpretation.

While the concept of “building” was originally meant as the pure protection of one’s existence, it has given way to the functional city architecture between living, dwelling, and working spaces, which ultimately dominate human life and become vulnerable themselves. Thus, the theme of threat, the insecurity that goes along with mental disorientation, is still present. The stimuli of the metropolises, which are crowded by masses of people, intensify the feeling of being lost in a labyrinth. At the same time, in their color fragments, these paintings stress the specific tempering and coloring in different parts of the world: as a clash of icons between tradition and rampant globalization.

In his most recent paintings, Fahar has now brought the different components of the two painting series together. At the same time, his flow has become freer; between tranquility and restlessness, wideness and claustrophobic confinement, his painting style has become even more detached from the figurative. Consequently, the urban and scenic spheres coalesce, with the scenic now being dominant again. His style is more open; the paintings now consist more of large color areas that are applied like spots and structured decentrally. The result are captivating, most often light-flooded color chords and refractions of the areas through linear marks.

Painting becomes a visible event that captures the mood of the places but itself remains transient. The broad brush strokes sometimes become ambiguous; at times they seem like the shadow of a figure or a building. The scenes are not distant anymore but seem to surround us.

There is glistening yellow, which breaks through the green, or a crude dark blue gable superimposes an angular brown in the middle ground while a light blue opens up in the depth. The roof is a constitutive shape in these new paintings. Fahar creates it partly through the antagonism of the brush strokes, partly through edgy bends, and partly as a negative value resulting from overpainting. In the painting “The Freezer is in the Gardenhouse”, an entire city silhouette is created this way. The concept of the “shelter” is now interpreted more openly, while still hinting at the fragility of the surroundings.

However, the basis for all this is the personal biography of Fahar, who lived in so many different places and understands the differences of societies. Fahar’s major theme is home and therefore also homelessness. His concept reflects nomadic life and migration. He is just as mindful of the conflicts of religions and cultures as he is of the overpopulation in the cities between public space and private retreat. Fahar’s painting illustrates the vibrant urbanity in a globalized world with its threats but also its lighter moments.

Dr. Thomas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

The First West German Artist Is from the Middle-East