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 Lot title: Burn It II

 Lot description:

Mixed media, collage and decollage on wood panel
195 x 190 cm (76.77 x 74.8 in.)
Executed in 2008
Signed on the lower right and dated ‘08

 Provenance: Agial Art Gallery, Lebanon


Artwork note:

Following in the footsteps of the New Realism pioneers – Europe’s answer to American Pop Art – Ayman Baalbaki brings to mind Van Gogh’s ‘pair of shoes’ still life in this unique piece. Painting objects commonly used in everyday life, each artist attempts to portray a significant social issue: Van Gogh chose worn, rundown shoes to illustrate the hardships of everyday life, whereas Baalbaki used a tire to reflect an explosion of society. In Baalbaki’s painting, the gold leaf represents people harmoniously living together, while the tire abruptly rips through this ordered fabric. In an ironic twist, the symbol of unity – the wheel – is destroyed and ultimately becomes the destroyer of unity.
An imposing object in the middle of the canvas, the tire has no base or defined space, as if it is suspended, neither horizontally nor vertically. Rather, it is placed diagonally, appearing to jump out at the viewer amid the lacerated background, giving an almost explosive effect. The choice of subject is symbolic in of itself. In a country where tires are set ablaze in protests, used as blockades at army checkpoints, were a common instrument of torture during Lebanon’s last occupation and also reflect the violence of a string of assassinations in the form of car bombs, the tire in Baalbaki’s painting then takes on a political connotation.


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