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DAVOOD'S SURREALISM PAINTINGS

Lorelei” 80 x 120 cm.

oil on canvas

in a private collection


At the time of painting this picture, Davood Roostaei lived very close to a river. Several sleepless nights listening to the gurgling of the river’s water combined with the splatter of rain, as if the waters of heaven and earth were uniting, inspired Davood Roostaei to the creation of the Lorelei picture. Infatuated by her beauty, and enchanted by the song of the Lorelei, sailors forgot the dangers of the river, and their ships were wrecked on the rocks of the Rhine. The love of beauty made them blind to the treachery which led them to their doom.

 

The Lorelei symbolises seductive femininity which leads men to their doom. The picture depicts the evil side of the legendary figure, an aspect which is no longer hidden beneath the beautiful form. Her hair is not blonde as in the legend, but dark. The character of the Lorelei corresponds to that of the treacherous serpent that is painted above her head, and brings to mind the fate of Adam and Eve.

 

The facial features of the legendary figure and the serpent also bear great resemblance. The true face of the seductress is no longer veiled in purity and beauty. The serpent has several bodies, representing the many facets of the feminine character. The serpent turns its head towards the moon, the symbol of the night and femininity, seeking to swallow it. The Lorelei stretches her hand out towards the moon.

”Solar Wind in Hamburg” 80 x 60 cm.
oil on canvas
in a private collection

 

This picture was painted from the roof of the Bavaria brewery in the St. Pauli district of Hamburg., from the same spot as Oskar Kokoschka chose for his painting of Hamburg. The framework of the painting of the city is formed by flowing blonde hair which enfolds the entire scene in its beauty, and reflects in its colour the gleaming light and the heat of the summer day. The city is imbued with gold.

 

From the roof of the brewery, the river Elbe appears too small to afford the fish enough space to live in, and so they leave their natural element and swim up to the heavens. 

”The Big World but very Small” 120 x 150 cm.

oil on canvas

in a private collection 

 

This picture was painted during a tour of Egypt. The composition with Nefertiti, swans as the symbol of purity and beauty and the child holding a terrestrial globe is circular in form.
Below Nefertiti, as a symbol of knowledge, are the books which could offer the solution to the mysteries and key to the secrets of the world. But the candle does not burn, so the books remain unread. The mysteries and secrets remain as such.

Hate, lies and deceipt complicate the life of civilisation and bar access to the books of wisdom. And yet life would be so easy to understand if only mankind would leave behind it all that is negative. All people should be like children and free from deceiptfulness. This is symbolised by the swans which fly towards the Egyptian maiden. If we were only as children, then the world would be safer in our hands, and people would live together without conflicts and in happiness. 

”The Melody of Lost Dreams” 84 x 149 cm.
oil on canvas
in a private collection

 

After having read of the equality and fraternity practised by people living under socialist regimes, Davood Roostaei believed that he would find an earthly paradise in socialist countries. During visits to East bloc countries, mainly to the then German Democratic Republic and to Moscow, Davood Roostaei saw a great contradiction between the reality and the theory of socialism. This moved him to paint this picture.

 

The naked torso which emerges from a lane of leafless, seemingly withered trees represents all mankind. This is emphasised by the representation of the continents in the tree trunks from which the figure emerges. That all the trees, like the one projecting from the torso, seem lifeless indicates the fear and despondency of the people in the imperfect social system which they themselves chose.

 

The people already feel resignation and the trees have shed their leaves. A last leaf hangs on a branch symbolising the last hopeless effort to hold on to the old system; expressing fear of what is new; the uncertainty that accompanies every change. The vapour trail of an aeroplane in the sky below the windswept, dried leaf denotes modernity and civilisation. The situation depicted in this painting can still be met with today.

 

The violin is not held between chin and shoulder, as in usual, but is pressed against the heart and is here an instrument expressing feelings and the hope of altering the seemingly hopeless condition of mankind. Such intensive playing causes the violin to shed a tear, which helps to fill the river and so give the trees water, the element necessary to pruduce new growth. The trees can bear new leaves. There is hope of a change for the good in the world. Mankind must free itself of its lethargy for only mankind itself is able to bring about change. 

”The End / The Future” Painting in two parts of each

80 x 60 cm. oil on canvas

in a private collection

 

On the left-hand side of the first painting can be seen the skull of Tutankhamun, the greatest and most influential of the Egyptian kings. It is hung with and surrounded by treasures which were buried with him. Opposite him lies the skull of a Neanderthal man devoid of treasures – a sign of the poverty in which he had lived. Both of them, irrespective of their totally different status in life, are equal in death. We can take nothing material with us when we die; all are equal in the democracy of death.

 

On the right-hand side of the second picture, Davood Roostaei has painted a likeness of himself. Life and death merge here as a reminder of the short time-span between birth and death. Still there is life in him, but death is a certainty.

 

The glass merging into a skull on the left-hand side of the painting is filled with wine and represents love. It reflects the thinking of the Persian poet Hafi who says in effect: “When I die make a goblet of my skull and fill it with wine”.

 

Nothing material remains. Only the thoughts and deeds of mankind are eternal. Mankind has only this lifespan in which to improve the world. What remains are the effects of these thoughts and deeds upon future generations. The two pictures are admonitions to us; they are modern vanitas pictures. 

”Dr. Albert Schweitzer”
45 x 70 inches

acrylic on canvas

in a private collection