Marwan Kassab Bachi - widely known, simply as Marwan, was born in Damascus in 1934. After studying Arabic literature at the University of Damascus from 1955 to 1957, he moved to Berlin to study at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste.
Stylistically influenced by the Art Informel movement, the artist became heavily involved with the emergence of German Neo-Expressionism. Best known for his depictions of the human head, Marwan's celebrated Kopf or 'face' landscapes captured the essence of his subject's inner depths and emotions through his intense painterly style. Drawing from his native culture and studies in Arabic literature, elements of poetry and Sufi philosophy permeated the artist's work, adding layers of meaning through his repetitious painting practice.
In 1980 Marwan became a permanent professor at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, where he taught until 2002. In 1994 the artist earned the distinction of becoming the first Arab member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. Marwan passed away in 2016 at the age of 86. A selection of his work was displayed in the Central Pavilion of Joys and Fears, in the Giardini at the 57th Venice Biennale, the following year.
Marwan's work was most recently presented at the 57th Venice Biennale, Venice (2017); Mosaic Rooms, London (2015); Armory Show, New York (2015); New Museum, New York (2014); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2014); Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah (2014); Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut (2013); Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin (2008) and Berlinische Galerie, Berlin (2001).
The artist's awards and distinctions include: Le Prix du Forum Culturel Libanais (2005); Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2005); The Fred Thieler Prize (2002), La Cité internationale des Arts Grant, Paris (1973) and the Karl Hofer Preis (1966).
Marwan's work can be found in the public collections of numerous institutions around the world including: Tate Modern, London; British Museum, London; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris; Städel Museum, Frankfurt; Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin; Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah; Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, Amman; Darat al Funun, Amman and the National Museum of Damascus.