Space and Color - The Work of Painter Ali Abani
Ali Abani
Born in 1946, lives and works in the medina of Tripolis.

Space, 2003
Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 150 cm

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Ali Abani, born in 1946, grew up in a scenically beautiful area in northern Libya. So it’s not astonishing that, in his art, landscapes are a prevailing topic, not so much in a popular style, but artistically very demanding. The works must be lasting as independent creations.

Color dominates and produces the illusion of light, and thus also of spaces, of openness and vastness. Time and again clouds can be seen, but it’s not the clouds of a John Constable, but clouds playing a particular role in a country rich in deserts like Libya. Looking at Abani’s pictures, rainmaker myths are being evoked. Myths that are, understandably enough, of great existential significance within the desert culture. Therefore, to give them expression in art means to participate in the development of Libyan painting.

In Abani’s work landscape is space and space is color. Over the years, this color has become increasingly independent. In the end its effect could almost be described as psychedelic. Someone knowing all about the European history of art will discover a surprising but congenial parallel to Edgar Degas’ late monotypes.

What’s striking in Abani’s works is the artist’s attempt to transfer, with an abstract, flowing rhythmic art the non-figurative iconology of Islam into a contemporary modern framework.

Most recently, Ali Abani has begun to realize his works with the help of computers and new media. In this way Abani shows to what extent Libya is on its way to catch up with present-day artistic tendencies.