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Lot title: Cormorant

Lot description:

Acrylic on canvas
200 x 150 cm (78.7 x 59.1 in.)
Executed in 2011
Signed and dated on the lower left

 Provenance:   Agial Art Gallery, Lebanon

 Literature and references:

Agial Art Gallery, Tagreed Darghout, Canticle of Death exhibition catalogue


Artwork note:

Ad mortem festinamus (To death we are hastening)

Is the title of Myrna Ayad text printed in Tagreed Darghout sales catalog introducing her body of work titled Canticle of Death. Here follow I picked some phrases which will help you get into the mood of this one of kind exhibition: “Laced within Tagreed Darghout’s latest body of work are numerous intertwined narratives, all cut from the same metaphoric cloth and weaved within a fabric of incongruous fate – that of death. Her Chunky impasto, both a signature of her oeuvre and an allegory for a suggested sequence of events, delineates the subject matter. We understand that the subject is about death – the inescapable, the unknown, the unanswered.

The collective pieces in Canticle of Death are not confined to the jolt of the new, but also to the familiarity of the old … while vanitas works, from the 16th and 17th centuries were painted in a lucid manner, as are Dargouth’s pieces, her impasto comes into play here, allowing some sections of the works to ostensibly pose a memory, a possible reminiscence of what was, as opposed to what is. This allows for a greater understanding of the portraits and bombs in her pictures, which transport the viewer to modern day. As though death needed a greater threat, one of the worst perils mankind is faced with the 21st century is that of nuclear warfare.

… Darghout has long tackled themes of universal significance related to the human condition … her orientation towards nuclear weapons and death feed into her interest in ‘collective’ topics. A subtext was pondered – how could weapons of mass destruction be given human names? How could man humanize a killing device? Weapons of mass destruction such as Fat Man, Thin Man, and Katie were name respectively after Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Katherine Puening Harrison, wife of J Robert Oppenheimer, “the father of the atomic bomb” … the skulls and the bombs are outwardly one and the same. Where the skulls bluntly remind one of certain death, the bombs now do too.

In giving cruelty a human face, man took one step further and named military research projects after the colors of the rainbow, inspired by the UK government’s post second world war projects, codenamed Rainbow. Names such as Blue Danube, Green Grass, Indigo Hammer and Orange Herald were given to nuclear weapons and their varied accessories. Darghout again references biblical texts – in Genesis 5:28 – 9:17, the entire story of the Prophet Noah and the Great Flood is detailed, in which God promises that the earth and its inhabitants will never again be destroys by a flood. The proof of God’s promise was in the form of a rainbow. Darghout paints a bold series of the explosions utilizing the very same colors codenamed for these detonations. The paintings are an allegorical finger pointed directly at the human accomplices who seemingly defied God’s promise. And in using the word, Rainbow for the project, have taken the term in vain … in Darghout series, we see that it is (death) mortally imposed as opposed to being a rite of passage.”


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