Essam Marouf

Essam Marouf is a painter living and working in Amsterdam.

Artist Essam Marouf forces the viewer to intently gaze his portraits to examine their logic. In his technique Marouf does not follow the traditional rules of drawing or painting. He suggests a pictorial narrative of intersected and repetitions of physical and metaphysical images in his portraits of female sitters. His visible and invisible images are stirred up by colour, light and the space.
It is apparent that the artist has revealed an intellectually-suggested experiment to elaborate the mental image of the human face. He deliberately depicts the upper part of the sitter to defuse tension, which could be provoked by the intersected and overlapping relationship between the portrait and its dynamic visible and invisible images in the surface.
Marouf’s sequence of visible and invisible faces appears to be monitoring themselves and celebrate signs of idealism concealed beneath the layer of the colour. Marouf’s face and its repetitions seem to be heaving a deep sigh. A deeper look will help the viewer to realize that Marouf’s portraits are sad-looking.
On the other hand, the artist’s intersected and overlapping faces give the impression that they are withdrawing into time. Their withdrawal is stimulated by the dynamic mental images; their directions and colour shades and scratches stimulate the feeling.
Throughout the history of optical representation, depictions in particular moments of our faces and their dynamic display of our feelings cannot be retrieved or evoked. Like his ancestors, who pictorially hunted the ox on the walls of the cave, Marouf explores—in the portrait—the persons psyche and inner thoughts.
The emotional intensity in Marouf’s portraits appreciates our understanding of the Death—without touching its physical reality. His portraits depict human representations falling into a trance and giving in to emotional moments discerned in the woman’s face.

Essam Marouf was born in Cairo in 1958, studied painting from 1976 at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Helwan University in Cairo and graduated in 1981 at the Mural Painting Section. From 1982 until 1985 Essam Marouf studied at Accademia di Belle Arti in Roma. He lives and works between Cairo and Amsterdam.

Selected Exhibitions:
Gallery Misr, Cairo, (solo) 2015,
“Painting… this magnificent way of life”, Helga Hofman gallery, Alphen aan den Rijn, NL (solo) 2014,
Theater in Pictures, Art from the ING Collection, Apeldoorn 2013,
PAN Amsterdam, Helga Hofman gallery 2012,
APB, Syra-Arts gallery, Florida 2012,
“same people..same story” Helga Hofman gallery (solo) 2011,
“Muse” Ofok Gallery, Museum M. Ghalil, Cairo (due) with Omar Galliani 2011,
11th Cairo Biennale 2008, “100 Years Faculty of Fine Arts” Art Palace, Cairo 2008,
and “l’Uomo del Mediterraneo” Museum Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome 2007.

Works of Essam Marouf are part of various private, corporate and museum collections.