Each piece in the series Les Couleurs is based on a national flag. Here Ninar Esber mixes their colourful and graphic elements, in proportion to the space occupied on the original surface, in order to produce simple flat blocks of colour. Hence these flags, originally made up of pure, simple, effective designs of rather glaring colours, are toned down in favour of muted tints. The sensual broken- down nuances, at times recalling flesh tints, soften these colours. By this meticulous work of diluting forms and as so often in her work, the artist uses a sensual dimension as a means to challenge.
The use of pure colour creates a shift from the symbolic to the sensitive. It feeds on ideas of synthesis and simplification which run through the history of art of the twentieth century. Thus, these pieces by Ninar Esber are rooted in the monochrome tradition of painting: they fully embody the power to question how things are represented. The doubt put into play does not wholly rest upon the abstract/figuration dialectic, but also on the questions of identity and political issues surrounding national colours. The Iranian, Lebanese, French, Saudi, Turkish and Israeli flags disappear in this mildly iconoclastic artistic gesture, which challenges their symbolism as well as their power to create a collective identity. The artist, by dissolving national symbols, strips them of their power to divide and separate. So the complete artwork is charged with a heightened symbolic power. The creation process used for this series is based on a principle of cross-culturalism crucial to the artist’s work. Moreover Ninar Esber deliberately emphasizes, as a commentary on this work, that the “plurality of cultures is a decisive critical issue “
Translated by Theodora Taylor