Marwan Kassab-Bachi

  • Born 1934 in Damascus, Syria
Kassab-Bachi moved to Berlin in 1957, where he studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (College of Fine Arts) with Hann Trier (1915–1999). He began painting portraits while working at a fur factory from 1962 to 1970. In 1963 he began associating with future Neue Wilden artists Georg Baselitz (b. 1938) and Eugen Schönebeck (b. 1936). Kassab-Bachi describes the 1970s as a turning point in his art, where he had a vision of a face that morphs into a landscape. He returned to the motif throughout his career. Kassab-Bachi’s knowledge of Abstract Expressionism and tachisme can begin to be seen in the same decade. His portraits are archetypes, individual yet universal. Kassab-Bachi uses color judiciously—sometimes using only four or five hues—creating his faces through a fluid blending of paint, emphasizing the painting’s flat surface. The flattened figures are situated within unidentifiable settings, isolating them and emphasizing the painting’s surface. Kassab-Bachi was a visiting professor in painting from 1977 to 1979 at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst (College of Fine Arts), where he was appointed full professor in 1980. He taught at the school until 2002. He became the first Arab member of Germany’s Akademie der Künste (Art Academy) in 1994.

Artworks by Marwan Kassab-Bachi in the exhibition