- Poetic Soaring and Childish Icons
The artist’s paintings, just like his works of engraving, reflect a
breath-taking charm which mysteries are so difficult to decipher. This magnetic
attraction may relate to his enigmatic characters and exciting carnival hordes
that closely resemble shadow puppets. They radiate gladness and pulsate with
sadness simultaneously, oscillating between mature meditative tranquility and
young childish riot.
However, this attraction may go back to the artist's way of simplifying forms,
eloquence in the economy of subjects, modest asceticism of methods of
expression, and sometimes the contentment with a limited number of characters
and mythological creatures, like in “A Couple of Lovers”. Despite his frivolous
insistence, he confines himself to a unified color tone. It is a tone calm in
delicate colors, in delicate heat and coldness. Then he jewels his ampleness
with gems of shinning colors satiated with intimate pigments, just like the rays
of sunrise and dawn, sunset and dusk. He is trying to seize a dreamlike moment
of color located in the folds of the memory of time and its straying light
without any hope of turning back.
Here are cut-up puppets, thin, with no thickness, size, mass or shadow, swimming
in an astral ‘conscientious’ void without horizon, free from gravity. They look
closer to an abstract surfaces coming from the sphere of Muhammad Said Al Wasity,
Behzad, and Damascene Abu Subhi Al-Tinawi, and like those miniatures and
delicate glass drawings restricted to a humble paper-size world.
The human organs are shattered (fingers, feet, masks of heads...) and joints are
dislocated. Thus the painting is converted into a new hallucinatory anatomic
logic, original and unique.
Some of the formations focus on puritanical platonic love. Bodies suffer from
embrace and separation, soaring in a celestial ascending in an upper ethereal
world, fleeing from death and sins of the lower world in a space with no
Through this poetic soaring we discover around the heads the crescent halos
borrowed from the quietude of ancient Assyrian icons. The artist sometimes puts
his signature in the opposite direction of the painting, reinforcing its spatial
astral Dervish- like whirling.
The engravings of Yaser Al-Safi are full of the memory of the local flourishing
of this art, from Ghayyath Al-Akhras to Yousef Abdelki. Yet, what distinguishes
Yaser is the utmost innocence that forsakes censorship of mind and ideological
consciousness. With intuitive childish freedom the artist drops the technical
rules and formal decorations. He dislikes polishing, suaveness, academic
courtesy, and the virtue of painting. His work, so fresh, looks like children
paintings, or at least spontaneous sketches. He prefers the virgin lines and
colors, with no revision or rectification. Therefore, he is the artist least
expected to stumble over alienation and stereotypes.
His world, as grotesque as it is, has some kind of underlying inevitability,
something closer to instinctive fatalism. In this world the figures will not
consent to any topographic displacement, and thus convey a crucial contentment
to the viewer: they certainly cannot be but what they are.