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Youssef Youssef

The dreamers...

What kind of a spirit haunted with all the gentleness of love and its dream-like perfection that manifests itself in those faces overflowing with all this peace?! For a moment you will be amazed by the dream that you see in the paintings of the artist Youssef Youssef due to its abundant tranquility and serenity demonstrated gracefully and artistically which urges us to be part of this dream without hesitation! Has anyone ever asked you to share a dream?! Well here we are all invited to be part of this dream...

What we see is the faces of characters who never abandoned their childhood, who are just on the threshold of puberty; they are still in that perplexing stage and are still maintaining their full spiritual purity. These are the faces of shy and rebellious characters where boundaries are abolished between the image of the girl and the boy; there are no clear signs of feminine or masculine dimensions, except for the length of hair and some headdresses that are still alive in Youssef’s memory and date back to his childhood which has never actually forsaken him.

The question here is: Did these faces come as a result of Youssef’s decision to say something different at the artistic level through which he confirms his artistic excellence and creativity –which is justified at any rate - or did they occur beyond his consciousness and will?!. By looking on the photo of Youssef as a child among his peers, we will notice that Youssef never went out of this image, he repeatedly paints himself and those close to him, and there are a lot of intersections between these memorial photos and his paintings. We may say that Youssef rereads his memory to make it more beautiful; this is an appropriate approach to address the experience offered by Youssef, but the next question we have to ask before contemplating the dream is: Why does Youssef paint these faces which did not go beyond childhood and are very similar in shape? Simply because he wants to embody a state of purity and transparency that can set up a dream of a new peace that restores the tired memory to which Youssef belongs. While Youssef invites us to share his personal dream of peace, we have to know that Youssef never actually experienced this peace except in paintings which constitute his ultimate haven out of his cold memory.

For many years now- nearly a decade-, Youssef has no longer separated his painting (the dream) from his sleep, he wakes up to paint and then goes back to sleep, and things get mixed up too much as to whether he drew the painting while asleep or afterwards? This question is asked by Youssef himself but he could not find an answer..! 
For Youssef, the dream never stops neither in waking nor in sleeping, it constitutes his artistic obsession and his great project to transform reality to become just like the dream, and the dream here is a trick of personality and its conscious and unconscious means to defend itself through the amputation and eradication of pain from memory and restoring such memory with a time devoid of violence. This is a case of projection and sublimation that is accomplished though true art. 
The ongoing relationship with the painting enabled Youssef to be him; this rebellious dreamer.

Hence we just figured out from where did the dreamers come into Youssef's painting, and why they appear to be overflowing with dreamy affluence. However, we have to consider the intensive artistic aspect through which Youssef managed to release this peace which seduced us with its beauty, and became a place and time to resume the dream via the painting; thus, this dream will continue to be fertile with peace and distinction because Youssef is still bridging the enormous pit of pain deposited in the memory of his soul and body.

In the dream we are not exactly an extension of the realistic dimension, but an intensification of the contradiction and completeness across the painting; a projection of what is painful, and an advocacy of joy; just like a delicious apricot full of joy on the outside and is harsh and gloomy on the inside, but there is a continuing exchange between the inside and the outside. It is extremely difficult to break free from pain by releasing it, just as it is extremely difficult to release all this beauty by confronting pain; however, Youssef was able to finally present love and peace in an artistic way not only through the energy of the dream, but also through dreaming of the energy of art and life.

The dream is hazy and vague with no boundaries to separate its realms. The characters in the dream move lightly, like shadows with unclear depth; they move in a cold-colored time; as they say in psychoanalysis: (an uncolored dream). Youssef paints a dream without being concerned with theories of psychology, but nevertheless he brought us to this understanding. The colors used by Youssef are of convergent spectrums (monochromic) and remind us of the romanticism of Turner and Constable, but Youssef adheres more to the shades of color rather than the saturated colors, and this enhances the dreamy nature of the dream. 
While we might tend to believe that Youssef paints with one color only, he actually uses tens of shades of convergent colors without showing these color thicknesses in his painting, which makes it identical with the transparency of the dream; this is shown in the background which is of convergent colors as well. His painting has a hidden perspective dimension, and we can hardly notice the depth in his painting, the perspective depth he creates has a psychological significance that corresponds to the absence of reality and its substitution with an alternative reality present here i.e. the dream, which is synonymous with the dreamy rhythm and embodies the creativity and peculiarity of the formation. 
It is imperative that the touch of color should disappear in this congruence so that the painting is fully integrated with the dream.

The faces in Youssef's paintings are always circular and they their realistic reference. We may interpret these circular faces as the ideal completeness, which is commensurate with the state of tranquility, and satisfaction that appears on these faces. We are facing an ideal painting in the dreamy and visual sense in terms of the congruence between the subject, the depiction and the psychological state; this is called unity with expression as a case of sincerity. Youssef's painting is not only a space of visual art that enjoys all this peculiarity, but it is also a space of a dream through which we can all feel a great sense of peace.

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