Exhibited artworks at Renaissance Art Gallery part of exhibition Ammar’s Garden- Renaissance Garden :25 April 2024-10 June 2024

Ammar’s Garden- Renaissance Garden

curating by Dr. Arhitect, designer, curator & artist- Founder of Juxta Foundation


Bucharest, 25.04.2024

Video curating exhibition & musical moment with Izabela Barbu-Jezebel

Iulia Toader curating of Ammar Alnahhas Exhibition & musical moment by Jezebel

Ammar al Nahhas’ art is archetypal. Although at first glance it seems decorative in the sense that frescoes and wall art are decorative, i.e. they are part of the building in which they are installed, the artist’s oil painting that the Renaissance Gallery hosts goes beyond the threshold of the decorative mask, entering new territories of meaning where archetypes dictate and justify its existence.

We believe it is important to remember the artist’s origins because more often than not pure meaning is revealed by probing the depths of memory. Continuator of Fateh Moudarres as a timeless oneiric atmosphere and extracted from the physical place, the Syrian artist has brought to Romanian art a breath that I do not find since Țuculescu. A secret pattern woven between the threads of his canvases that supports a world encased in a large eggshell: a world awaiting its birth.

We support this idea with the pursuit of a discreet and attenuated eggshell white, present in most of the works exhibited in this opening and which creates the sensation that we find ourselves in an egg waiting for a new external existence and at the same time so pleasantly caressed and comforted by the inner garden of heaven in which we still have time to linger. Ammar’s garden does not exist in the outer Reality, it is a state of bliss to which he referred somewhere in a stage of his creation through the dervish leitmotif. Our argument is precisely that omnipresent window in his works, which immediately hierarchizes the artistic space as interior, because often these windows have the colours of the sky, serene, cloudy or twilight. These dotted windows are windows through which the inner world relates to a higher reality, and through which the soul can be viewed in its evolutionary process. Immersion in works of the Oriental portrait genre have the power to make us feel like co-authors of the inner garden and at the same time poignantly studied, somehow protected and somehow conditioned towards introspection, which is even more evident when we position ourselves at the centre of this collection of canvases. We position ourselves in a fragile garden of the beginning of self-knowledge, wrapped in a cosmic eggshell – omne vivum ex ovo.

Ammar’s garden is archetypal, as we have said of his art. Anyone who wants to contradict this statement should look very carefully at the traditional art of the Levant, and I would like to draw attention, for example, to the painting of Abu Zayd, the twelfth-century scribal artist and poet. We propose his painting on turquoise ceramics, Bol painted with a majlis scene beside a pond, from the MET Museum collection, joining it to the image that attracted the attention of the painter Ammar Alhnnas hundreds of years later: Pond at Mogoșoaia, more to admire and Women – Oriental. It is just one example of how an archetypal image crosses time and space to present itself again in the collective consciousness, through recollection, perhaps as goldfish glide smoothly across the water, occasionally disturbing the surface sheen with their presence. The gathering of meditative human figures, entranced by the poetry of the moment, gathered in this round field of spiritual communion, focused on the water and the pleasures of the spirit, but in a composition full of affection and mutual trust, of existing together, evokes peace, the same peace that Ammar’s works convey, through all the plastic means at hand, from the balanced colours to the massive and stable visual centre of each composition, often punctuated with primary colours, essences of the stable and perennial natural world: sky, sun, blood.

Ammar’s peace is a result of his order, somehow with reference to the juxtaposition specific to Eastern art, an order that binds and unbinds according to the artist’s laws, but always the same, modes of existence according to an immediately recognisable personal pattern. Let us not forget that the very word order and art have the same etymology from the root PIE ar- with the meaning of fitting together, going together, perfectly complementing each other. In Ammar’s painting we never find any element that is dissonant or that does not fit perfectly into the whole of his order as a virtuoso of visual balance.

Abu Zayd, bowl of a majlis scene by a pond, 1186 CE, stone paste, glazed in opaque turquoise, painted in polychrome in glaze and overglaze, 21.6 cm in diameter, Kashan, Iran (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Oriental art is characterized by stylization. Amar’s art takes stylization to a lyrical voice expressing itself in a very personal, almost intimate, idiolect of forms that successively coalesce or dissolve into waves of visual poetry.

The images of nature are more poetic than discursive, collections of symbols reiterated in each work, symbols that refer to an archetypal reality in which nature is not just nature, a garden is not just a garden, a pond is not just a pond. We see fish, birds, horses, -windows and trees dotted on canvases dominated by the human spirit. The red birds caught our attention, but not only them, with their gravity-defying poses, they are for us models of happiness, freedom and truth. They remind us of Bul Bul el-Hazar, the bird of happiness whose song chases away all evil, or the Talking Bird who reveals the truth of the beautiful Farizade, a Syrian story of the three sisters that we also find in One Thousand and One Nights.

But the fish with their smooth, fluid movements to the point of decomposition and communion with the water in which they exist are another story, one about eternal life. Fish are archetypal images that in all faiths are rooted in the idea of overcoming obstacles, the power of change and growth, fertility and harmony. By its continuous forward movement, it is recognized as an image for victory, but we believe that this victory of which Ammar’s works speak is one of spirit over matter, or light over darkness, in the world’s endless existence.

We connect with Ammar’s symbolism especially in this work by spotting the fish entwined in the pond, because water is the primordial element that sends us to the archetype of a path of healing, through emotion and meditation, through extraction from natural, material Reality, through escape from the visible garden back into an all-encompassing Invisible Garden where poetry is magic and colours exist simultaneously in the full spectrum of light. It is the emotion of water that signifies life that radiates from the work, in a universe evoked simply but powerfully through the perfect circle of continuous, eternal existence.

With the obvious evolution of the artist’s themes, we understand his approaching maturity, a plastic maturity and of the senses, and his works already appreciated in the Romanian collectors’ environment, are ready to adorn the walls of museums, especially this moving work of the Arabian horse. This mix of visual culture between the Levantine and contemporary worlds has values that propose the art of Ammar al Nahhas for an artistic heritage of future generations.

Dr. Arch. Iulia Toader