Iconic pop artists Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol are the inspiration behind a series of six new paintings titled Chagrin d’amour – The Musical on display at Opera Gallery in DIFC.
The paintings represent a snapshot of a moment in the timeline of love – a love story’s ups and downs, its peaks and valleys, its ecstasy and torment.
Created by Lebanese artist Marwan Chamaa, the acrylic-on-canvas works reference lyrics from ’60s Arabic songs as well as images inspired by vintage western comic book covers and famous paintings from pop artists of the era, including Lichtenstein.
“Chagrin d’amour means love sickness, and since the lyrics are from songs, it’s titled The Musical. The concept of tarab is my inspiration. Tareb refers to utter rapture and exhilaration, so it’s the perfect means to express the transcendental nature of being in, and falling in love,” says Chamaa. Here, he sums up the show and talks us through three works in it…
“Where there is love, there is pain, and Chagrin d’amour – The Musical explores that. Both ecstasy and torment are there in full view in this series. Love is universal, it elates the human emotion. As John Lennon said, ‘All you need is love,’” says artist Marwan Chamaa.
“The images I picked to use are American comic strip characters from the ’50s, and I mixed them with the Arabic tarab lyrics of that same era. Each painting is a window to the heartfelt agony or the utter passion the characters are feeling.”
“These illustrations are inspired by the 1951 Darling Love comic’s cover and the pop art background from Roy Lichtenstein’s 1963 Drowning Girl painting. The lyrics are from the 1962 song Not Enough by Syrian-Egyptian singer Farid El Atrash.”
Not Before a year
“This dialogue is from the lyrics of the 1969 Arabic song, One Thousand and One Nights by Umm Kulthum. Translated, it means, “My darling, let’s live in the eyes of the night and tell the sun to come back after a year, not before a year…”