Executed in: 2020
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Size: 55 x 75 cm
Signed in Arabic and dated on the front lower right
Private Collection, Lebanon.
Acquired directly from the artist
This artwork is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
Untitled (2020), like most of Baalbaki’s landscape compositions, is painted from a deliberately peculiar angle. It resembles a snapshot taken in a travelling car, perhaps using a phone camera. Baalbaki’s work intelligently challenges the subject matter found in the traditional art academy, intentionally depicting anomalies and dereliction. Yet beneath his playful defiance lies a dark underbelly merging the different temporalities of Lebanon’s history. The imposed slowness of his emotive expressionist undertones echo a “mémoire sans souvenir” (memory without remembrance), a reflection of a generation grappling with the lingering aftermath of war.
Oussama Baalbaki (Lebanese, b. 1978) is a contemporary painter and poet known for his figurative compositions that blur the line between reality and illusion. He explores the role of painting in the age of photography, using expressive brushwork and delicate colour palettes reminiscent of expressionism to depict urban elements like telephone poles, billboards, and cars. These painted scenes resemble Instagram images but unlike their digital counterparts, they convey a sense of time passing and motion. Baalbaki’s work bridges photography’s instant capture of the present and painting’s longer engagement with time, adding a nuanced temporality to his canvases.
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