Artist Profiles

Hussein Madi: When Life Becomes Form

Aimee Dawson
6 February 2023

Hussein Madi’s art is brimming with life—whether abstract patterns or portraits, his paintings and prints deliver bold, gestural strokes and a bright colour palette that make his works dance. Madi’s geometric shapes—often stylistically compared to Picasso and his Cubist movement or Matisse and his cut-outs—also lend his works to the medium of sculpture, bringing his subjects even closer to life (such as Untitled, 2000). The Lebanese artist prefers to capture living forms—from birds mid-flight (Birds, 2011) and rearing bulls and horses to the human figure in all manner of domestic environments (Untitled, 2012) and rural scenes (Abstract Flora, 2001). Even his most abstracted works seem to represent animals in their basic forms (such as Untitled, 2005). His tapering, fluid black lines also seem to reference the Arabic script and his use of symmetry, pattern and harmonic balance in composition reflect the principles of Islamic art and architecture. The artist was inspired by his profound belief in “God’s universal order, in which everything is different and yet composed of the same cosmic elements.”