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Art is never only reflection or copy. All attempts to reduce it to such failed and were no more than a violating misuse. Authentic art is creation, an individual or opposite world. Even in its despair or criticism, or in its most vehement contradiction it remains positive and full of hope. Art is an affirmation of life, of "the other life". There is no negative art.

No artist submits to the crude circumstance, to the mere predominance of the factual. Therein lies the emancipated and subversive potential of art.

Artifacts show traces of their origin, of their process of creation. Something is always told of society, of its time and its values. Even the most autonomous, most individual work shows something that goes beyond the mere individual. It is in the difference to the depersonalized, non-authentic mass product, which knows of no authorship, that the quality of art sets causes the tensions between ones own and the societal.

Faek Rasul, who grew up in the Kurdish town of Kirkuk, schooled himself in the Fine Arts from very early on. The then existing conditions in Kurdistan were quite special. There was no prevalent folklore, but there also weren't the diverse liberties of Western Culture.

In accordance with the secular regime there were influences noticeably coming from the former Soviet Union and the former democratic Republic of Germany. Anyhow, these were cultural influences, which went beyond the regional or the Islamic.

But a Kurd could not easily expect to be employed as a teacher or count on being commissioned as an artist. Apart from political ones, the very simple and profane problems of everyday life prevailed. The war in 1980 resulted in persecution and imprisonment. The escape via the Iran into Europe finally succeeded. The artists now live in Austria since 1987.

Here the exiled, the alien, the foreigner first had to integrate and accustom himself. Not only the social system was different and strange, but also the cultural complex. He couldn't just simply apply his own cultural repertory; here he found very different values to the ones, which had been imparted to him by Soviets and East Germans.

The cultural shock was severe and again rendered any stabilizing or deepening of his own step extremely difficult. He also had to resist some of the seductions offered: to allow himself to get caught up in the role of the asylum-seeker, the exiled, exotic stranger. Faek Rasuls works should not only be seen at Kurdish events. He demanded to be evaluated by artistic and not by ethnic standards.

Slowly the process of integration, of getting a solid grip on things succeeded without him becoming an odd exotic. But he neither denies his own heritage, nor does he let himself be bound by it, for it is not the most essential aspect. It is just one part of many. And this shows Faeks true quality: he not only expands his oeuvre, but also the boundaries of his artistic perception or metaphorical world and his style of expression. He grew. His metaphorical language became more complex. The rekindling of "his" tradition took a detour. On the other hand, the confrontation with a new world, with new values, positive and negative, forced an accentuated work. Faek Rasul succeeded in this.

From the early, mostly intensively or even motley colored, abstract creations, he moved on to the paintings of his cycle "Remembrances". Held mostly in tones of brown and ochre, these are endowed with mysterious signs, which call for the informed. Many of the signs seem familiar in their symbolic to the Western observer, resulting in a peculiar tension, oscillating between sacred and profane interpretation and so as if the cited symbols did not only come forth out of ancient times in Babylon, but also from those of the Celts and Romans.

The new paintings are earthy and fiery and massive. They show firmaments and world-carpets, utopian oceans and peninsulas. It is the imagination of the infinite voyage, of the strange places of Atlantis and Utopia. It is the song of Arcadia and of Babylon. It is the love of life, the colorful, pulsating worldliness of a mixture of sights which express the sheer unspeakable: pictures are capable of telling what words cannot express. Faek Rasul expands the field of vision; he shows that which goes beyond the linguistic.

His pictures are not simply abstract, but then again, they aren't plainly concrete either. He doesn't tell any obvious stories, he propagates and doesn't agitate. With his genuine, complex interweaving of signs and symbols and his choices of color he creates forms, which have their own charm and appeal; and even though their language may at first sound strange to some, their melody and rhythm is catchy and does not let go.

The later and last works are like aerial views, similar to peculiar pictures taken from outer space, render themselves as narrative maps of far continents and countries. Landmasses, with mountain ranges and rivers running through, seem to set themselves apart from oceans. Signs like those of Klee, seen by American Indians, but transferred to Africa and Asia and dowsed in Babylonian light. They are not particular countries, no known borders or places. Some images are like intensifications for the flight with the carpet. They are projections of travel-routes from and to Arcadia and Utopia, which mingle harmoniously with traces of Orient and Occident.

Seeing is like hunting. It is seizure. It can be violating. But the artist doesn't only paint "seeing" what he sees. His portrayal goes beyond that which the eye can catch sight of.
His sight appeases the aggression of seeing by an altered and expanded "making one to see". Thus Faek Rasul spreads a picture world before us, which is an autonomous and opposite world. The artist Faek Rasul doesn't merely see, he isn't the hunter, the incorporator or just the voyeur. Maybe he also is all of that in one, but he is even more. He shows what he didn't see or sees on the exterior, but inward looking, projected. He throws his imaginations and his visions on to the canvas. And even though they may satiate themselves with old remembrances, his paintings are mentally and spiritually multidimensional. They are pictures of the world as part of his view of life. Like buoys in the seemingly infinite sea, landmarks for an orientation which we can truly hope to expect from the art.
Haimo L. Handl

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