PAVILION OF LEBANON
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FOUAD ELKOURY

Born in 1952 in Paris of Lebanese parents, Fouad Elkoury lives between Paris, Beirut and Istanbul. He began his artistic career by photographing Beirut during the civil war, exploring issues of survival in a war-torn city. Far from being a report of everyday life, his pictures bear the necessity of withstanding time, as underlined in his publication Beyrouth Aller-Retour (1984), to be followed by a postwar work, Beirut City Centre (1992), which was widely exhibited and published in a book that became a landmark in the history of photography. Accounting for how to live in war zones while at the same time keeping a distance from everyday life marks his art, as can be seen in Palestine, l'envers du miroir (1996), Liban Provisoire (1998), or in his fictional narrative Suite Egyptienne (1999).
After co-founding the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut, collecting and studying historical pictures of the region, Elkoury questioned the purpose of single photographic images, away from aestheticism. His later works elaborate composite visuals (diptychs, triptychs...) to create new meanings, combining still photography, text and video. His Paris exhibition Sombres at the Maison Européenne de la Photo, with its filmed counterpart Letters to Francine (2002), revolves around wounds; Civilisation, fake = real? ponders the phenomenon of representation and replication; On war and love (2006) reflects on the dimension of intimacy in wartime.

Exhibited Work
ON WAR AND LOVE
Photography (33 visual compositions). 2006.

On war and Love mixes writing and B&W/Colour photography to produce 33 visuals, each composed of one or several images.
Based on a diary written during the 33 days of the war in Lebanon in the summer
2006, between July 13th and August 14 th , this series of compositions superimpose an intimate layer over a more political one, away from the regular media coverage .

LAMIA JOREIGE

Born in Lebanon in 1972, Lamia Joreige is a painter and video artist who lives and works in Beirut. She uses archival documents and elements of fiction to reflect on History and its possible narration, and on the relation between individual stories and collective histories, underlining the process of memory and the impossibility of accessing a complete narrative. Lamia Joreige explores the possibilities of representing the Lebanese wars and their aftermath, and Beirut, the city at the center of her imagery. She assembles personal stories and uses linear narratives in works such as A Journey (2006), a documentary based on her family story, questioning identity and loss, and Objects of War 1, 2, 3, 4 (1999 to 2006), a series of testimonies on the civil war. The documentary Here and Perhaps Elsewhere (2003) and the short written fiction Ici et peut-être ailleurs (2003) both address the subject of the wartime disappeared and the idea of relative truth. In other works she uses non-linear narratives forms in which the story is "exploded," such as in Je d'histoires (2006), an interactive installation exploring narrative possibilities through videos, music and letters written during war; Time and the Other , a fiction on love and separation, melting texts, images and videos (published in 2004); Replay (bis), (2002) and Replay (2000), reflecting on the mechanism of memory through reminiscences and the reenactment of a dramatic event; and Le déplacement (1998-2000), a visual narrative on Beirut, mixing urban landscape and intimate scenes. Lamia Joreige's work essentially centers on Time: the recording of time, of its trace and its effects on us.

Exhibited Work
JE D'HISTOIRES
Interactive Video Installation . 2006.

This interactive video installation plays with multiple stories and narrative possibilities. The visitor is invited to construct his / her own visual story from an array of video images, texts and music. He / she becomes an actor of the narrative process, each time renewing it.
The idea behind " Je d'histoires " is in the continuity of the work of the artist which explores narrative structures in relation to History and memory and reflect on the idea of relative truth in regards to an event which occured ; only this time, it is with the participation of the « spectator ».

WALID SADEK

Born in 1966, Walid Sadek is an artist and writer living in Beirut. His early work investigates the violent legacies of the Lebanese civil war as partially and inadequately seen and experienced by a young Christian-born Lebanese: I Once Dreamt I was a Phoenix (1995); Half-a-Man (1995); Home Play (1996); The Last Days of Summer (1997). He later began to posit, mostly in theoretical texts, ways of understanding the complexity of lingering civil strife in times of relative social and economical stability: A Matter of Words (2002); From Excavation to Dispersion: Configurations of Installation Art in Post-War Lebanon (2003); The Acquisition of Death: the Ends of Art and Dwelling in Lebanon (2004). His recent written work endeavors to structure a theory for a post-war society incapable of, or at least reluctant to, resume normative living: From Image to Corpse (2006); Place at Last (2007); Seeing Rude and Erudite (2007). Concomitantly, a few installations propose a poetics for a social experience governed by uneasy contiguity with the remnants and consequences of violence: Love is Blind (2006) and Dear Stephen (2006).
Walid Sadek is currently assistant professor at the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut.

Exhibited Work
MOURNING IN THE PRESENCE OF THE CORPSE
Installation . 2007.

Let the dead pass on. Let them depart and with them be gentle, "give them a little encouragement and help them build their little ship of death... like departing mariners, lovingly."* These words resonate with the quietude of a model sociality that congregates around the dying like ship-builders do around the hulk of a ship; a sociality busied by preparations for a last voyage and therefore intimately concerned with the mortality of the living as with the lives of those it calls dead. More importantly, these words exude a sort of lucidity impossible to grasp or factually experience in societies that linger amidst the remnants of its own internecine violence; namely in societies that mourn in the presence of the corpse.

"Mourning in the Presence of the Corpse" is a wall-mounted and text-based installation which approaches the specific temporality and sociality that are brought about by the persistent and protracted presence of un-inhumed objects of past violence.  

* D.H Lawrence, "All Souls' day" in The Oxford Book of Death , chosen and edited by D.J Enright, Oxford University Press, 1983, p. 49.

 

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MOUNIRA AL SOLH

Born in Beirut in 1978, Mounira Al Solh works with video, painting and photography. She lives between Beirut and Amsterdam, where she is currently a resident artist at the RijksaKademie. Al Solh has been working on issues related to Lebanese immigrants' stories, as well as the Lebanese socio-political and religious conflicts. Her approach is not realistic but fictional, or even fantastic. While transforming dramatic situations into ironical ones, Al Solh links issues of identity with aesthetics. In the video installation As if I don't fit there , for example, she explores her fear of ceasing to be an artist, and her doubts about her place in the art world.

Exhibited Work
AS IF I DON'T FIT THERE
Video Installation . 2005.

"As If I Don't Fit There" is a presentation about four fictional Artists who decided to stop being Artists and who were not annoyed to do so. With silent printed Text , they tell us why they quit Art, and what is their current job. In parallel to that they show us a video documenting what they did as artists. By chance most of them present videos that look like an already existing artwork. Slowly, we discover that Al Solh takes the role of her invented characters, to criticize subtly artistic issues through playing with the idea of constant doubt that confronts her as an Artist. The result however, though based on criticism and cynicism is not at all negative or implosive, and this contradiction is another main aspect of the work.

AKRAM ZAATARI

Born in Saida, Lebanon in 1966, Akram Zaatari is a video artist and curator who lives and works in Beirut. Author of more than 30 videos and video installations, Zaatari has been exploring issues pertinent to postwar Lebanon, particularly the mediation of territorial conflicts and wars through television, and the logic of religious and national resistance - such as in his documentary All is Well on the Border (1997) - and the circulation and production of images in the context of a geographical division of the Middle East, such as in his feature-length works This Day (2003) and In This House (2005). Zaatari has also been exploring representations of male sexuality, particularly in crazy of you (1997), and later in How I love you (2001). As co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation (Beirut), he based his work on collecting, studying and archiving the photographic history of the Middle East, notably studying the work of Lebanese photographer Hashem el Madani (1928-), as a register of social relationships and of photographic practices. His ongoing research has been the basis for a series of exhibitions and publications such as Hashem El Madani: Studio Practices (with Lisa Lefeuvre) and Mapping Sitting (collaboration with Walid Raad).

Exhibited Work
VIDEO IN FIVE MOVEMENTS
Video. 2006.

In the 1960s, Hashem el Madani used his super 8 camera to film outings with his family and friends. This video explores how Madani spontaneously directed his actors / friends / family members including himself. The rushes used in the five movements were shot in the late 1960s and early seventies in Egypt, and many sites in Lebanon such as Beiteddine, Kfarhonah, Dahr el Ramleh, and Jezzine, which used to be Madani’s summer residence.

 

VIDEO PROGRAM
To see the video program please click here