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Lot title: Belt (Der Gürtel)

Lot description:

Oil on canvas
200 x 150 cm (78.74 x 59 in.)
Executed in 2008
Signed ‘Baal’ on the lower right
The painting is signed ‘Baal’, titled ‘Belt’ and dated ‘Berlin 08’ on the reverse

 Provenance:   The artist’s studio


Still life: Wilde Gallery, Berlin (solo), 2008 (retouched in 2009)
A Heap of Broken Images: Dome City Center, Solidere, 8 October-1 November 2009 (the painting is featured on p.21 of the exhibition catalog) ( Download catalog )

Exhibited at MenasART International Fair (13-16 July 2011). ( Download catalog )



Artwork note:

In a land of wilderness and ruins that exists in an imaginary time zone suspended between a remote past and a not-so-distant future, we can’t help but notice our preoccupation with a sense of how human society seems to be drifting towards some sort of gloomy nondescript end.

Said Baalbaki’s painting method, central to which are the twin processes of obliteration and erasure, leads to a smooth painted surface. The central creature roves downward, leaving a foreground made up of fragments that seem to hail from a pre-modern age. It moves toward an unrecognizable and threatening end, where an ominous dark cascade dangles from above to the left of the figure.

Despite the dark and eerie overtones implied by the subject matter, the painting is overall surprisingly bright and luminous. Baalbaki’s long sweeping brushstrokes move horizontally across the background to create an aqueous, floating, grayish pink world, ensuring maximum vibrancy is given to the burnt orange substance that foretells the onset of physical violence.

Baalbaki’s captivating Der Gürtel is a quintessential work using the modern technique combined with postmodern philosophical depth. The artist is able to seduce the viewer aesthetically before gripping them mentally, perhaps forcing the onlooker to question the origin and meaning of the image.


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