Mohammad El Rawas Representing Lebanon
Mohammad El Rawas was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1951. "Through the multiplicity of references and material, ambiguous worlds are formed, with no signs of a particular place or time.
They claim an intriguing life of their own, nourished by tension and the power of non-belonging."
Rawas began his artistic career with the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War. He left the country to Damascus, then to Morocco before returning to Lebanon and leaving again to pursue his studies in London. During the late 1970s and early 1980s he produced a body of prints related to the war and to violence in general. These works were presented at several exhibitions, including “The Road to Peace”, curated by Saleh Barakat at the Beirut Art Center.
His complex artworks widely use reference to popular culture and old master paintings such as Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez. In 2013 El Rawas abandons painting to work on creating a series of three-dimensional constructions using multiple materials and techniques. In his latest artistic phase, he goes back to two-dimensional paintings.
Magical Realism is what best describes El Rawas’ complex constructions. Each one of his compositions is a layered assemblage of objects and techniques, ideas and references. He borrows, modifies, alters, copies, pastes, reinterprets and decontextualizes objects and concepts he finds in the history of art from Italian renaissance to contemporary art, through haute couture and fashion, comics, architecture and photography.