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editor-in-chief: rima nasser

printing: chamas for printing & publishing s.a.l.

editor: kasia maciejowska

graphic design: genia kodash

contributing writers: Ari Amaya-Akkermans India Stoughton John Ovans Jennifer Hattam Rajesh Punj Frank Hornby Nour Harb

photo editor: rowina bou harb

www.citynewspublishing.com

Jon Rafman, I dig, you dig, and it, the worm, digs too, 2014. Image courtesy the artist

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Way Up - Painting the Roses Red, 2013, Mixed media on canvas, 120 x 100 cm

Shurooq Amin

We’ll Build This City on Art and Love 14 September - 23 October 2014

Gate Village Building 3, DIFC, Dubai T: +971 4 4392395 difc@ayyamgallery.com www.ayyamgallery.com


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rtists have always taken up the role of interrogating and experimenting with new technologies, questioning their properties, expanding their application, and considering what they say about the culture that produces and is produced by them. Today, the most pressing area of tech that is calling artists to address it is of course the internet, and the social concerns that intersect with it – primarily the experience of a digitally mediated and performed (hyper) reality, the continuous threat of surveillance, and the artistic redundancy suggested by its altered hierarchies. Such anxieties and excitements characterise three stories in the first half of this issue, with technologies of surveillance being a specific concern. Ari Akkermans thinks about Trevor Paglen’s use and imitation of satellites and military technology, while Merlin Fulcher reviews a drone experiment staged this summer by influential tech artist James Bridle, who in 2011 coined the term New Aesthetic to refer to how the online world was appearing in the art world. I ask curator and writer Omar Kholeif about the book he edited earlier this year, You Are Here: Art After the Internet, the first serious publication to critically explore how the internet is changing contemporary art. In Kholeif’s words, “Over the last decade the inter relationship has been undeniable whether it is artists literally referencing the aesthetics

what’s inside

words: kasia maciejowska

of the internet, using it as a platform for distribution, or for development or production. It has been since the millennium that the space of the internet became a significant one for art. It feels appropriate now with the passage of time to finally reflect - but also to ask artists and practitioners to be the ones to reflect, which is rarely the case.” We also give British installation artists a good deal of attention in our opening pages, interviewing Tim Noble and Sue Webster about their punky new painting technique, as well as the aircraft-obsessed Fiona Banner, known for her huge sculptures at Tate Britain – who can also be considered to address technologies of power and observation, although in a less digital and more embodied form. Our pull-out section on Beirut Art Fair (available in the Lebanon and UAE editions) focuses on this year’s contributing curators as we interview Silke Schmickl – founder of German video art platform Lowave – about her video program, and Philippe Tretiack, the architectural critic who is curating the BLC Design Platform for the first time this year. We were particularly taken by Fabrice Bousteau’s attitude to curating, and to compliment our interview in Selections magazine this issue, India Stoughton looks in detail at his Indian art pavilion for BAF called Small is Beautiful - Dharma, to accompany the central poster featuring artworks from the same exhibition.

Further back you will find thoughts on the recent exhibition in Nice, France by critically acclaimed Lebanese practitioners Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, as they consider the histories and geographies of virtual space. We also review the group show Bridge to Palestine at Beirut Exhibition Center, and share a preview of ArtInternational, the fair taking place in Istanbul this Autumn. We introduce a new feature this issue with the first in a series of studio visits - this time with Manuella Guiragossian, illustrator, painter, and youngest daughter of renowned Lebanese modernist Paul Guiragossian. Manuella’s work has been auctioned at Ayyam Gallery, as well as Christie’s, and we sit down with the founder of Ayyam, the Syrian Khaled Samawi, to discuss his extensive personal art collection for Collector Profile. This is the last issue of the Art Paper that I will be editing; since we launched it a year ago the paper has expanded from covering only local projects and exhibitions to taking a more global perspective. In recent months we have had the pleasure of interviewing and reviewing some of the most influential and exciting artists, curators and collectors in the region. I am very grateful to all those we have worked with for giving us access to their exhibitions, thoughts and projects. As the publication develops further it will no doubt grow to become a louder and more polyphonic voice on art in the Arab world.

What’s Inside

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Magazine now on your tablet

Jon Rafman, You are standing in an open field, 2014, image courtesy the artist, from You Are Here, Art After the Internet, edited by Omar Kholeif, published by Cornerhouse & Space

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interview: tim noble and sue webster

words: kasia maciejowska

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The pair visited Beirut for the first time this year when the influential New Yorker Suzanne Geiss curated a group show at the Metropolitan Art Society (MAS) featuring their neon installations. There the artists discussed their work with the Art Paper while standing on the dizzying graphic floor installation by their fellow Brit artist Jim Lambie, whose black and white stripes have become a permanent feature to be walked all over

‘We did shadows, then we did lights, and now we’re closing our eyes” Tim Noble

e did shadows, then we did lights, and now we’re closing our eyes,” quips Tim Noble, as he skirts around explaining the new project that he and his co-artist Sue Webster are currently working on. He’s riffing on the play between extremes that their work has become known for, as one of their neon installations from 2012 hanging nearby makes clear with its wording: Nihilistic Optimistic. It was inspired by then-emerging

artist Matthew Stone (who shared his personal guide to London with Selections, mother magazine to the Art Paper, this time last year) who jokingly scolded Tim for being nihilistic after seeing him kick and smash something. Stone’s own artistic project is one of radical optimism, and the relationship between the two approaches stuck in Tim’s head, prompting the duo’s 2012 exhibition, which inaugurated Blain Southern’s new London space, of the same name. For the show, Tim and Sue made a series of full-length shadow

portraits, each cast onto the gallery wall by shining a light through a painstaking assemblage of waste materials that look nothing like a human figure when viewed in 3D. As self-portraits that emulate the recognisable figures of the artists, these works emphasise the cult of personality that has grown up around the pair, stimulated by their representation of themselves throughout their career, as Tim said, “our work has always been informed by our volatile relationship”. The duality of darkness and light in both their

Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Work on paper created whilst on residency at Edition Copenhagen, 2013

Tim Noble and Sue Webster, better known as Tim and Sue, are celebrities of the British art scene, considered part of contemporary art’s defining YBA generation, and best known for their shadow portraits, held at the National Portrait Gallery and previously exhibited at the British Museum in London. Romantic partners for years, four of which they were married, the duo continue to work together, and have a studio in the East End. They are represented by world-leading gallery Blain Southern, based in London, Berlin and New York, which boasts names including Lucien Freud, Damien Hirst, and Bill Viola on its books.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster by Twoshooters

A word with Tim and Sue

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shadow pieces and their neon installations reflects on the public personae they have cultivated as leatherjacket-clad bad-asses who do whatever they want, while simultaneously rising to the top of the glittery commercial scene – an archetypal art world tale. Such attitude is classic Brit Art behaviour, made typical by the YBAs who came to fame shortly before Tim and Sue, most famously Tracey


“We started drawing blindfolded which has evolved into a new blind paintings series” Sue Webster

Emin, Damien Hirst, and Sam Taylor-Wood, but most brilliantly Gillian Wearing, Helen Chadwick and Sarah Lucas. It’s an artistic position that takes the spirit of punk and of grunge, although not necessarily the aesthetics, and uses it to play the commercial world at its own game using conceptualism. In Beirut, Tim and Sue carried a little bit of this swagger, and it was fun to see them out of context, despite being at their own exhibition launch. Tim may have been cryptic about their current project but Sue opened up about making new paintings while blindfolded. They can’t see the work as it’s evolving,

in an antithesis of their installations that use light, whether as bulbs, neon or to make shadows. “The shadow works were very subtle and then the neons were really loud. Now we have to challenge ourselves to do something different, spark up something new, open up a new hole,” as Tim put it. This pushing into unknown psychological and creative modes is at the core of the pair’s process. Sue recalled how some of their best work has come out of situations in which they felt uncomfortable. “We did a residency in Copenhagen where we were given free reign in a printing studio, which is nothing like our

usual set up. But we were there and we had to do something – there were all these assistants there to help us! So we developed a new way of working – we started drawing blindfolded which has evolved into a new blind paintings series.” This blind approach is totally punk and fits into their self-described merging of ‘form with anti-form’ and ‘high culture and anticulture’, to create ‘antimonuments’. Sue expanded on the idea: “We wanted to lose control of what we were doing and remove ourselves from the responsibility. That way you just have to go with it and learn to trust yourself. The shadow

Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Nihilistic Optimistic, 2012, Neon, transformers, flasher unit, 42.4 x 153.6 cm, Image Courtesy of the Artist and Blain Southern, Photo Peter Mallet

to keep at it. The best work just comes from outer space.” Considering their collaboration after so many years, she says they both have ideas and discuss them and go away and produce something. “If one of us doesn’t feel we can stand by the other one’s idea then we won’t let it happen but we’ve learnt to trust each other over the years. I like to think it’s like two energies travelling in opposite directions and then they explode in the middle – that’s when the spark of the idea happens. Sometimes you need both opposing elements to get something done.” Tim Noble and Sue Webster, The Gamekeeper’s Gibbet, 2011, solid sterling silver and gilded in pure gold, metal stand, light projector and indirect fluorescent lighting sculpture, 72x41x160 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Blain Southern, Photo Christian Glaeser

works were about revealing hidden psychologies and these do the same.” How do the paintings look when they see them afterwards? “They look like a mess! But we’ll exhibit them with Suzanne Geiss in New York and people can decide what they think.” Tim explained that although often associated with the YBAs, their work was a reaction against that sort of conceptualist minimalism. He’s right, in that their re-used materials like junk, scrap metal, and small taxidermied animals render their work full of readable associative meanings. Similarly, their new emphasis on process over product sets them distinctly apart from that set. Sue described her grafting method: “If you’re not working then nothing happens so you just have


Omar Kholeif

ART AFTER THE INTERNET

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Receiving high praise from seminal art-andmedia thinkers like Douglas Coupland and formalising the critical dialogue around contemporary culture’s most penetrating technological medium, You Are Here: Art After the Internet is a book of collected essays and art projects about the influence of the internet on art since the Nineties. Omar Kholeif edited the publication and contributed a text that discusses his own practice of curating in a post-digital context. Here he speaks with the Art Paper about his thoughtprovoking compilation

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art after the internet

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y dint of his Egyptian origin and in-depth knowledge on film from his birthplace, Omar Kholeif has become an influential voice on art and film from the Arab region. In his role as senior editor at Ibraaz, the leading platform on contemporary visual culture from North Africa and the Middle East, and as Founding Director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival, he is shaping how art from here is perceived and contextualised. His first love, however, is media and technology, and the majority of his work is dedicated to thinking about how these things

words: kasia maciejowska

intersect with art. Currently Curator at The Whitechapel Gallery, London, as well as Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester, he was previously Curator at FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool, and Head of Art & Technology at SPACE at The White Building, London. The subject of You Are Here: Art After the Internet is geographically non-specific, and locates itself globally or, more appropriately, in reference to digital timespace. “I would say generally speaking no there is no difference in how the internet has influenced art across different geographies,”

muses Kholeif, “Even if you are in Beirut where connections can often feel like dial up, the notion of the internet as a ubiquitous force or field is undeniable. We are all subsumed by it and likewise, artists, the world over, are influenced by it.” Kholeif’s expertise may lie at the intersection of technology and art, but it is framed within the art world: “I am not so interested in how art has affected the web as I am not an internet historian but a film and art historian.” For this publication he draws together 22 artists, writers and curators – including

“The most common misconception is that post-internet means art that doesn’t engage with the internet or looks at the internet negatively. Rather, it means art that is Internet Aware, whether we are discussing sculpture, painting or work made specifically for online” Omar Kholeif

John Rafman, I dig, you dig, and it, the worm, digs too, 2014, courtesy the artist

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video artist Jennifer Chan, Brad Troemel from online group the Jogging Collective, ‘Famous New Media Artist’ Jeremy Bailey, pioneering tech artist and writer James Bridle who coined the term New Aesthetic, and internet artist Constant Dullaart. Each writes quite subjectively on either the internet as a whole, or more often on how aspects of its use are re-shaping the way that art is made, distributed and understood. This form echoes how the internet’s polyphony uses a series of distinct but connected deep dives in to different subjects to build up a general impression that is always shape-shifting and


art world. “The internet is a field - a space - that moves, constantly,” asserts Kholeif, locating a specific descriptor that can be applied to the subject, as well as the reason why there is hesitance around theorising it. Alongside the preference its constant movement gives to moving images over stills or other art forms, Kholeif believes that enhanced distribution is the biggest influence the internet has had on art thus far. “Anyone anywhere in the world can now have access to art (in its various forms and manifestations). This has created a democratisation and has eroded hierarchies. For me, personally, this is the

Jon Rafman, I am alone but not lonely, 2013, courtesy the artist

evolving. The book may be complete but the subjects it opens up feel like the start of the debate, to be consolidated by subsequent theorists and practitioners who take up from here. Although the World Wide Web – our tool for accessing the network of networks we call the internet – is 25 years old this year, the discourse around how it is changing us remains wide open. As Douglas Coupland, fan of the book and subsequently a collaborator of Kholeif’s in forums on related subjects, put it in Art Forum in June, “There’s a whistling in the dark thing going on right now.” In the tradition of the most accurate critical writing, and the most engaging artworks, these texts open up more questions than they resolve. The book is self-consciously a jumping off point – an initiative critical foray into a canon that is, as Kholeif says, “a nascent one.” As this collection of essays, projects and images makes clear however, some things can be pinned down as artists and critics try to define the internetshaped imprint that is now embedded in the

You Are Here Cover, 2014, courtesy the artist

most exciting thing. That an artist in Azerbaijan can start to have the same frames of reference as an artist in Peru or Portugal, say.” The same might be said, however, for almost any aspect of culture, not just art. Being more specific, Kholeif explains that the internet has changed art practice, “so that it is less modular or segmented, becoming something much more commonly located amidst the annals of a broader culture.”

You Are Here: Art After the Internet is available now, published by Cornerhouse and SPACE. Omar Kholeif recently released a novella titled Jeddah Childhood about a teenage boy growing up in Saudi Arabia and he curated the current exhibition Virgin With A Memory by celebrated Qatari-American artist and author Sophia Al-Maria, at Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK, running until 2nd November.

Jeremy Bailey, Natasha Zena, 2013, courtesy the artist

“Let’s get one thing straight: every artist working today is a post-internet artist” Jesse Darling

As a term that has become widely used to refer to art after the internet, several texts in the book discuss what ‘post-internet’ really means. In Kholeif’s experience, “The most common misconception is that post-internet means art that doesn’t engage with the internet or looks at the internet negatively. Rather, it means art that is Internet Aware. Internet Aware Art is fully conscious of how all art now can no longer exist in isolation from the effects of the internet - its forms, its aesthetics, etc. (whether we are discussing sculpture, painting or work made specifically for online).” One of the collection’s sparkiest writers, internet artist Jesse Darling, puts it best in her essay Post-Whatever #usermilitia when she insists, “let’s get one thing straight: every artist working today is a post-internet artist.”


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review: trevor paglen

words: ari amaya-akkermans

The technologicallyinformed photography and installation of American artist and geographer Trevor Paglen looks up at the sky and brings into focus the politics and aesthetics of our surveillance from space

Trevor Paglen, Keyhole Improved Crystal, from Glacier Point Optical Reconnaissance Satellite USA 186 2008, C-Print, 95,25 x 76,2 cm Courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln and Altmann Siegel Gallery, San Francisco

There, Not There

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azing into the sky at night can reveal something altogether magnificent and frightening: the sky, or rather, space, has fallen out of grace as a “site of emptiness to be filled with human destiny”, and instead, has become a site of fullness, of solid industrial fullness. What the naked eye mistakes for stars, in many cases are hundreds of geosynchronous satellites, used for surveillance. Space agencies have confirmed that

the sky is in fact polluted by man-made constellations and that most of this space debris will never return to earth, already resembling a ring of Saturn. These will be the longest surviving artifacts of our civilization once human life on the planet has long ceased to exist. The Other Sky (2008), a project of American artist and geographer Trevor Paglen, examines the politics of aesthetics and invisibility, tracking and photographing

What the naked eye mistakes for stars, in many cases are hundreds of geosynchronous satellites, used for surveillance

hundreds of satellites whose existence has been largely unconfirmed. It was this project and his obsession with what he calls ‘the black world’, the invisible sites of political reality, that turned Paglen’s attention towards the technology behind the manufacturing of the satellites and the relationship between this technology, aesthetics and the experience of our ‘contemporary’ condition. The on-going project Non-Functional Satellites was born in collaboration with aerospace engineers, deploying state-of-theart technology used for corporate research and military surveillance, to create a cultural object: Can aerospace research engineering be re-imagined and transformed into an art for the sake of art? Paglen’s sculpture Prototype for

a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 4), crafted from Mylar, a special type of stretched polyester film, is designed to function as a real spacecraft that if placed into low-earth orbit, it would be visible from earth – following celestial mechanics – as a bright point of light for several months before disappearing into pure space without leaving a trace. The structure, not unlike Misty, a classified project of the US National Reconnaissance Office to operate undetectable


Trevor Paglen, Unlimited, installation, Metro Pictures Basel

In the satellite, the sculptural trace emerges not in the inflated structure but in the topographical vacuum around it stealthy satellites that theoretically hide behind a giant reflective conic balloon, is an inflatable and lightweight spacecraft that appears before the viewer as a giant mirror sphere. The non-functional satellites are invested with a certain apparent playfulness (the object as allegory or parody) that disappears the nearer the viewer comes to the object, until he is suddenly swallowed by the threshold and the void, into confronting directly the terror of invisibility as a rear

mirror: the inside spaces of the black world swallow and overpower the visible world by dictating the shape – as an inflatable balloon – of society, as a function of communication. Technology, the main producer of the images that we nowadays consume, reproduces well the instantaneous concept of an inflatable balloon world: images are volatile references without referent, disappearing as soon as they are being created and related not to our experiences but

When the prototype was first installed, at the curious pop-up site of Protocinema in Istanbul, in one of the few remaining corners that resisted gentrification, but already slated for demolition and construction, a new context for the work emerged: The technological space in which we live, slowly eroding the historical site, is a global reality and the grammar of a brave new world in which information and transitions will not be events, even controlled events, but the permanent structures of life around which the debris of history

will circulate haphazardly and aimlessly, after the same fashion that the long-dead satellites orbit the earth. Trevor Paglen, Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 4) was on show in Art Basel Unlimited 2014, by Metro Pictures and Protocinema

Trevor Paglen The other night Sky, PAN Unknown USA-207, 2010, Print Courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander KĂśln and Altmann Siegel Gallery, San Francisco

Trevor Paglen, Unlimited, installation, Metro Pictures Basel

to other images, without a point of departure. The result of this process is a form of abstraction that bypasses reality and becomes adornment: image and reality as adornment. But it is not that images are dead for Paglen in the age of Google and Flickr, for he recognizes the place and possibility of the image in fine art, and a relational aspect in photography rather than something immediately referential. In the satellite, the sculptural trace emerges not in the inflated structure but in the topographical vacuum around it.


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James Bridle, Right to Flight drone installation at Bold Tendencies, Peckham, London, UK

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our miles away from the famous museums and ritzy art galleries of London’s West End, an unexpected sculpture show in an abandoned car park in Peckham turned the art world on its head. The annual Bold Tendencies exhibition – now in its eighth year – initially caught the hard-to-win attention of the global art elite by showcasing the best of emerging contemporary talent in a gritty but easily accessible rooftop setting. By catapulting rising stars like Matthew Derbyshire and Jess FloodPaddock out of the gallery and into a rugged concrete landscape, Bold Tendencies guaranteed its visitors saw their sculptural installations through new eyes. Such a novel experience is something artist James Bridle seeks to recreate this year by floating a military-grade weather balloon above the area. Loaded with an aerial camera and hacker-proof communications system, this dark Helikite has brought a snapshot of global surveillance technology to

words: merlin fulcher

James Bridle, Right to Flight drone installation at Bold Tendencies, Peckham, London, UK

AERIAL INTERACTIONS

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Bold Tendencies is the keynote in London’s latest art scene hub, Peckham. This concrete multistorey carpark now hosts music festivals and screenings, but still hinges on its reenvisioned top floor, where the temporary architecture of Frank’s café sits beside some of today’s finest emerging contemporary sculpture. This summer one highlight was was influential tech artist and writer James Bridle’s performative installation of a floating weather balloon that highlights the ominous presence of technology today

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the Peckham sky. It looks down over the makeshift cell phone stalls and run-down factory units of a once maligned inner-city area not so long ago considered a hotspot of violence and ethnic strife. The urban renaissance promised by Tony Blair fourteen years ago – which Peckham missed out on while his government was busy fighting wars elsewhere – has now finally arrived. Transformation followed the success of Bold Tendencies which brought with it high-profile events including the London Contemporary Music Festival and an influx of hip youngsters wanting to live in the area. Despite all this change however, the area’s cosmopolitan population – like many others around the world – could miss out again if it fails to grasp the digital technologies which governments and corporations are already using to wage wars and reshape our daily lives. This rapidly changing and all-encompassing medium has led Bridle to prophesise in a recent Guardian article:

Data from the drone displayed inside one of the hangars on the carpark roof at Bold Tendencies during Right to Flight by James Bridle

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The artist caught worldwide media attention by creating an app that posts landscapes of drone strike to Instagram


Data from the drone displayed inside one of the hangars on the carpark roof at Bold Tendencies during Right to Flight by James Bridle

‘There has never been a greater need for critical engagement with the role technology plays in society.’ The artist – who caught worldwide media attention by creating an app that posts landscapes of drone strike to Instagram – believes raising technological literacy could be one way to improve the ethical output of digital innovations. Following in the footsteps of Bold Tendencies founder Hannah Barry – who herself brought together two very disparate worlds – Bridle hopes his installation will inspire a new wave of artists, art lovers and cultural installations to embrace the digital skills only software programmers and defence contractors currently understand. His aerostat installation – known as Right to Flight – was inspired by the nineteenth century Parisian balloonist Nadar who pioneered aerial photography because of his belief humans had a right to explore the heavens. Throughout the summer the public were invited to interact with the balloon, control its devices and suggest new technologies for its payload. Three hanger-like structures, created by architects TDO with structural engineers Lyons O’Neill, will engage audiences through a series of workshops, screenings of aerial footage and discussion events. The admirable project creates a physical link to the unreachable world above while at the same time breaking down real barriers which separate urban citizens from the technologies which survey and control them. Its success however will rely on the artist and his audiences finding time for the slow process of pedagogy which is sadly now too often eclipsed by the speed of communication in our digitally augmented world.


Killer Beasts

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British sculptor Fiona Banner has exhibited throughout Europe but is best known for her vast aeroplane installations at Tate Britain. Here she talks about her obsession with military craft as she launches a new exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the UK

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interview: fiona banner

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riginally from the North of England, Fiona Banner was born in 1966. She attended Kingston University in the late 1980s before going on to Goldsmiths, London’s hotspot for conceptual art education, in 1990. There she was introduced to the YBA (Young British Artists) generation, including Damien Hirst, Fiona Rae, Simon Patterson and Ian Davenport, with whom she exhibited. Banner had her first solo show City Racing in 1994, at an artist run space in South London, and in 1995 was included in General Release: Young British Artists at the XLVI Venice Biennale. Following solo shows at Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Germany and Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland in 2002, Banner was nominated for the Turner Prize that same year. Renowned for her visual

words: rajesh punj

obsession with military aircraft and her rendering of macho American war films as text based installations, she intentionally engages with a milieu of cultural contradictions. As publisher and artist, Banner explains her central theme thus: ‘My interest is in the voice of language and the mistakes of language. Yes the high points of it but also the hopelessness of it, and how we always come back to it.’ Banner has exhibited extensively internationally and has a solo show WP WP WP at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK, this Autumn. Rajesh Punj: Your works appear wonderfully complex; is that your intention? Fiona Banner: The film (Mirror, 2007) of a traditional life-drawing scene turned on its head pushes some things

that you might have already thought about into a slightly more absurd space. It kind of pushes a point, and therefore motivates a reaction that may create a further reaction. For me there is a complex narrative there around the work. Is it leading to any conclusion? No. Is it asking some questions and then looking at those questions in another way? It peels down the layers of expectations, so maybe you end up at a point where you are down to the bone. So something is raw and laid oddly vulnerable or bare. But certainly it’s not like I am formulating a position. I think like a practitioner so intellectually nothing is conclusive. An idea develops and it can take a very long time to make something out of it. I come back to things that I thought maybe had gone and themes circulate.

Fiona Banner, Apocalypse Now, 1997, pencil on paper, 274 x 650 cm, Copyright and courtesy the artist

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RP: What is it about Chinook helicopters you like and are they still operational? FB: Yes they are, they came out in the 1960s and are the longest serving helicopter. When you talk to people in the military they speak about this helicopter as if it has some kind of mythological status. For me it’s the way the blades always look like they are going to crash into each other because they actually go in opposite directions and cross over. Also the aircraft doesn’t specifically have a front or back and it is so animal-like, it is so inelegant – that all interests me. RP: How does that relate to the installation you have planned for Yorkshire


Fiona Banner, All the worlds fighter planes, 1999-2009, found newspaper clippings labels vitrine, Copyright and courtesy the artist

“I am not really interested in being romantic, although I am interested in the seductive qualities of these airplanes” Fiona Banner

RP: That brings us back to the intended contradiction in your work. Here you are scrutinising a film that you say yourself is trite. Why do you labour over works of ‘low’ culture in such a way? FB: I think there is something immersive about making these works. For example I made a spoken word version of the Nam because somebody said to me the work was unreadable. It is an eighteen hour talking book and there is something incredibly focused about it, because the act of writing or the act of reading requires that focus. As a practitioner that engagement was a really positive thing because what you really have to try and do as an artist is engage with a medium, whatever that is - however ephemeral, or however traditional.

RP: The Chinook recalls the other modern aircraft you have used as artworks, including the Harrier and the Jaguar. Why have you selected those particular combat aircraft? FB: With the Harrier and the Jaguar (Tate Britain, 2010), I really wanted to work with aircraft that were still in service, so both those models were still functioning when I displayed them and were of a type that still had a currency in their field of conflict. It was important for me that they were implicated and displayed in a contemporary way, so we can relate to them. An old aircraft, a retro Imperial War Museum type thing is of no interest to me as somehow that would seem like a romantic transgression into the past and I am not really interested in being romantic, although I am interested in the seductive qualities of these airplanes. RP: How did you determine the compositional layout for works of such magnitude? FB: Those pieces were quite specific to that neo-classical end of empire space of display at Tate Britain. Of course the museum was never designed to accommodate major industrial scale military hardware; it was designed for sculpture and painting. Specifically for sculpture I think for those outer spaces, but of a very different scale to. With the Harrier the space really captured the sense of

Fiona Banner, WP WP WP opens 20th September at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK Fiona Banner, The Nam, 1997, 1000 page all text flick book, published by Frith Street Books and The Vanity Press with assistance from the Arts Council of England

RP: Is that comfortable for an audience, entering into the space for the first time? FB: ‘Comfortable’ is an interesting term. I don’t think it will be comfortable but by the same token I don’t think it will be totally intimidating either. I think it will be quite strange in that it will have a strong performative element. For me I am used to relating to these aircrafts from a great distance and often through some mediated form. Movies, newspapers, images - relating to them one way or another – so just to be there up against the functionality of the aircraft

and the blades will be quite strange in terms of how we all relate to these objects.

it being like a trophy - like how a hunter might hang a dead bird. Also sculpturally I was interested in how utterly filled out the space was and in pushing our voyeuristic tendency with regard to those aircraft. RP: How did your large scale text pieces come about, referencing films like Top Gun, and Apocalypse Now?

FB: Well Top Gun (1994), and Nam (1997), (which is a book encompassing six well-known Nam movies, written in my own language) were early verbal pieces that came out of a particular engagement with movies. So to take Top Gun, I got really into that film and I was intrigued by it being such a basic piece. It comes across as a trite piece of entertainment. It is mainstream Hollywood

Fiona Banner, Harrier, 2010. BAe Sea Harrier aircraft, paint 760 x 1420 x 371 cm, Copyright Tate, Photography Andrew Dunkley & Sam Drake

Sculpture Park this year? FB: The installation at YSP is something I have wanted to make for a long time. It is like a sculpture without a centre because there is no body of the aircraft on display, it is just the helicopter blades. They rotate in the space at about twenty-five miles an hour; so quite fast, and they will be choreographed, so there will be a structure to the pace at which they move. Chinook helicopters are not available as there are not very many of them in the world and they don’t get decommissioned. Rather they are cannibalised and it is only because they are such high performing things that we take what we can from them. The use of the blades comes out of that and also for me it is the part of the helicopter that does speak of contradiction. The way they work seems so peculiar; the way the blades go against each other in opposite directions – I think of this arrangement as ‘push me, pull you’.

and an unreflective bit of entertainment. But what interested me was the really euphoric, almost splendid display of flying and how this came out right at the end of the Cold War. I was making paintings of the film and of the aircraft in it. They weren’t terribly good paintings because I was very messed up about what to keep in and where the frame was. So I ended up making these paintings where the aircraft left the frame. And at that point I thought I have just edited everything out of this painting. At the same time I recall I was reading a lot about photography and stories about how photography is manipulated. I was into Susan Sontag at that time and questioning the validity of the visual as we known it.


words: kasia maciejowska

multi-lingual states defined by their isolation from surrounding nations, and was strengthened by the co-existence of bank secrecy in both countries. An exhibition opening at Station this October takes this parallel as its starting point. Swiss-Italian curator Donatella Bernardi explains that when Nabil Canaan, founder of Station, invited her to develop the concept they agreed that representing entire nations through reductive symbols and imagined characteristics was something of a misnomer, so she came up with the title as a fictional notion, like the one people might have when imagining Lebanon or Switzerland

optical mural by Philippe Decrauzat, a series of black sculptures by Dunja Herzog, experimental video works by Franz Treichler, and sound pieces by Laurent Schmid. In the main, the show brings aspects from the Swiss visual arts and design world to Lebanon, rather than exhibiting any parallel work by local artists. At the time of going to press, the only Arab artist being included is the celebrated and controversial Mounir Fatmi, selected “for his interest in language and technology”; he is Moroccan, based in Paris. Bernardi is contributing to Helvetic Zebra in the role of artist as well as curator, presenting works

“I prefer to create a fantasy, a dream, like a poetic animal that could only exist in an imaginary zoo: a Helvetic Zebra” – Donatella Bernardi

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ne of the milder aspects of Beirut’s postcolonial story has been its dubbing with the absurd orientalist moniker ‘the Paris of the Middle East’. During Lebanon’s calm years in the 1950s and 1960s, a similarly Western perspective led to it being described as ‘the Switzerland of the East’. Although occidentally skewed, this reference was based on the idea of both being small

in their minds using a few simple references. “I consider that Switzerland as a simple object does not exist. To define what Switzerland is in order to make a show would be an easy mistake to make, so I prefer to create a fantasy, a dream, like a poetic animal that could only exist in an imaginary zoo: a Helvetic Zebra.” The title relates, as well, to the black and white dominance in the show, due to so many of the works being op art or typographic. It also refers to the Latin word for Swiss, Helvetica, more familiar from its namesake typeface by the Swiss designer Max Miedinger. A section of the show will be dedicated to book design, in partnership with the Swiss Design Awards, which will be offset through Station’s vast warehouse space by an

Mounir Fatmi, Technologia, film still, 2010, video installation, 15 min, SD, B&W stereo

DADA, surrealist, optical and radiophonic art collide with calligraphy, graphic design and typography this Autumn in an exhibition at Station that collates aspects from Swiss culture and represents them as a fictional whole. Playing on parallels between Lebanon and Switzerland, guest curator Donatella Bernardi exhibits creative highlights from one polyglot country to another

preview: helvetic zebra

Dunja, Trickster, Lage IV, Palma, Daddy’s trolley Installation, 2013, Photo by Emanuele Biondi

POLYGLOTISM EXHIBITED

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Donatella and Luciano Bernardi, Helvetic Zebra, 2014

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on European religious architecture. She has previously said in interview, “Everything I do, I do as an artist”, which perhaps explains the vagaries of her curatorial approach. As she has commented on herself, “I always keep an element of instinct, a curiosity, a taste for atypical situations, objects and unlikely parallels that could invalidate my work from an academic point of view.” Helvetic Zebra opens 7th October at Station, Jisr El Wati. A program of talks, music and performances will accompany the exhibition.


beirut art fair 2014

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eirut Art Fair began in 2010, and while modest in size, it was ambitious even then, with 30 galleries participating and 3,500 visitors passing through. Fast-forward to this year and the number of galleries has swelled to almost 50, featuring the works of 1,500 artists, with an expected footfall at the fair in BIEL reaching 20,000, including Lebanese collectors from around the world as well as those from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Asia, and Europe,

words: john ovans

all eager to add to snap up some new finds. The event, held between 18th and 21st September, runs in conjunction with the second Beirut Art Week, during which artworks will be displayed outside the fair on the city’s streets. The modern and contemporary art and design galleries taking part represent artists working across a broad range of disciplines, including paintings, drawing, sculpture, video, design and performance, embracing Beirut’s unique position as a

junction between the East and the West by welcoming a plethora of Middle Eastern and international artists. This year hosts a pavilion curated by Fabrice Bousteau dedicated to Indian art, Small

Zaaroura Edition, Engravings publishing house by Fadi Mogabgab

Grand designs on art in the Levant

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Indian art, experimental cinema and an engravings workshop make for a distinctive edition of the Beirut Art Fair this year

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Ali Tlais, Arbre en fleurs rouges, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 125 x 100 cm, Courtesy LAS, Lebanon

selections art paper


Hanibal Srouji, Gold clouds, 2014, acrylic and neon on canvas, 47 x 13 cm, Courtesy Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Lebanon

Effect Serie, Nordic #1,

Zeina Kamareddine Badran, Weaves#16, 2012, monotype, oil based etching ink on carton, 57 x 43 cm

Jean Marie Fiori, Horse, 2014 Bronze, signed, 274 x 323 cm Courtesy galerie Dumonteil

Art is Beautiful – Dharma (see overleaf), a studio of engravings which invites the audience to discover in-situ works, and a design platform especially devoted to promoting young talent. Video projects curated by Silke Schmickl, the German founder and director of independent film label Lowave, also looks to engage the fair’s visitors beyond painting and sculpture. Schmickl – who we’ve interviewed in our pages – has been a leading editor in experimental cinema and video art for the past decade, and Lowave has become something of a curatorial

platform for research in the field of moving images. Her project here, called Body Politics, seeks to explore a world defined by tensions and obsolete systems, with political and social issues inferred by the human body. A series of art films – from video art to experimental cinema - from the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia creates tension and dialogue between the individual and a globalized society, which “reintroduces a notion of humanity”. The engraving workshop, meanwhile, has been conceived by artist and gallery owner Fadi Mogabgab, who is also responsible for Zaarura Edition, the first engravings publishing house in the country. Mogabgab describes engraving as “a tribute to painting” through which we can understand the intermediary stages in the context of a final work. Artists will become familiar with the different techniques – from etching

to the aquatint – and with his studio site up in the Lebanese mountains. Despite its status as an artistic beacon in the Middle East, Beirut lacks the monetary punch of its Gulf neighbours, which are forking out vast sums in efforts to enrich their cultural landscapes with fairs and new museums. Beirut, however, has always been about something different –

a hub of production rather than consumption, which is why it makes sense to bring collectors to where culture is produced rather than mediated, mimicked and consumed. To this end, the Beirut Art Fair is proving a force of its own – the organisers are even launching the Singapore Art Fair in November, with a pavilion of honour dedicated to Lebanon.


beirut art fair 2014

words: john ovans

According to the curator of Beirut Art Fair’s video exhibition Silke Schmickl, video art in Lebanon has a particular resonance and a committed voice

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urating the video section of this year’s Beirut Art Fair on the invitation of Laure d’Hauteville and Pascal Odille, Silke Schmickl has the task of bringing together artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia. The theme is Body Politics, one that Schmickl reached after considering what she terms “the worldwide political and social agitation that moves today’s societies and especially the aforesaid regions”, and sees how contemporary artists use their own bodies and the collective body as sites for interpretation of such agitation.

Sarnath Benerjee, Sophistication, India, 2009, Courtesy the Artist

A handy medium

Sookoon Ang, Exorcize Me, Singapore 2013, Video, Courtesy the Artist

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Silke Schmickl

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When asked whether video’s position as a documentary medium – as well as an artistic one – gives it a particularly political potency in the

region at the moment, she refers to French cultural anthropologist Cédric Vincent, who analogised the Arab video art scene and the literary movement at the start of the 20th century, in which poets and novelists were heavily embroiled in social and political movements. She cites contemporary video art as having the potential to open up “new perspectives” beyond the press. “As video has become more and more accessible,” she asserts, “it has effectively acquired many of the qualities of pen and paper: a handy medium, portable and if necessary, disposable, that has the ability to condense and express political situations in a personal manner. With a focus on emerging mid-career artists and short-format works, the show has also added site-specific compositions to contextualise the subject matter. A particular

attention has been paid towards poetry and humour, as with ‘Oh torment Wa Wailah’ by Beirut-based Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Quadiri, which addresses the daily obstacles faced in an oft-defective city such as Beirut. Schmickl talks of the particular resonance that video art has in a country such as Lebanon, heaping praise upon the artists who have emerged during the past 50 years. “The particularly complex political and social situation shaped a video art scene whose authors are extremely committed to their work and articulate their conceptual and formal concerns with accuracy and finesse,” she says. “It is here that art deploys one of its most valuable qualities by giving voices to individual point of views that break with the stereotyped and preconceived opinions transmitted by the media.


Small art, big ideas

beirut art fair 2014

words: india staughton

Fabrice Bousteau’s India pavilion for the fifth edition of Beirut Art Fair pairs a strong visual aesthetic with uniquely Indian concepts of balance and creativity

Shilpa Gupta, Threat, 2008-09, Soaps interactive Installation, 5,9 x 2,5 x 1,6 inch each soap, Courtesy the Artist

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“I thought about dharma because it seemed like a strong link between India and Lebanon” Fabrice Bousteau

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n Renaissance Europe, a popular mode of displaying a collection of treasured small objects was the Cabinet of Curiosities. The precursor to museums, these display rooms often included natural history curios as well as items of religious or historical importance, antiquities and works of art. This September, independent art critic and curator Fabrice Bousteau is placing a new spin on this archaic idea

with his Indian Pavilion, one of the highlights of the Beirut Art Fair. Entitled Small Art is Beautiful - Dharma, Bousteau’s pavilion is centered on multiple themes, some visual, some conceptual. A selection of small works by contemporary Indian artists, each weighing no more than six kilograms and measuring no more than 70 cm, is displayed in a womblike enclosed space

within the main hall. The dark interior is illuminated by small spotlights, to dramatic effect. The pavilion’s conceptual bent lends an Indian flavor to the European mode of display, centering on dharma, a uniquely Indian concept with no direct translation. Signifying slightly different ideas in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism, it relates to the right way of living and

behaving in accordance with the divine order and cosmic balance of the universe. “I thought about dharma because it seemed like a strong link between India and Lebanon,” the curator explains. “Dharma is a way of explaining life and the cycle between death and the living, but it’s also a way of understanding the accident of life, the happiness of life, the suspension of life. Dharma is deeply important in Indian culture.” A second Indian concept also underpins the selection of work: jugaad, a word used to refer to enterprising people who were able to come up with creative solutions to living with very few resources. Bousteau draws parallels between the social awareness and creativity of

artists working in Lebanon and India. Historically, he explains, Indian artists used to create enormous sculptures, often centered on scenes from the country’s rich mythology. In response to sweeping social changes in the past three decades, including the establishment of a liberal economy and a middle class, artists have begun creating pieces in new formats, exploring increasingly social and political themes. It is this shift he hopes to encapsulate in the pavilion, exposing works tackling taboos such as violence and gender equality to a Lebanese audience. For a full interview with Fabrice Bousteau along with sixteen pages of his favourite artworks from around the world Selections magazine.


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9 10 1. Shilpa Gupta Untitled 2013 Traditional indian knife, cut into sections, fixed inside a glass covered box Edition of 30 numbered and signed Courtesy Bernard Chauveau Editor Le Neant Editeur

4. Sunil Gupta The New Pre-Raphaelites Untitled #11 2007-2014 26 x 39 cm Edition of 5+ 2 AP Courtesy of the artist

2. Navin Thomas Behold the destroyer of worlds… 2014 Mixed media 45,7 x 76 x 72 cm Courtesy Gallery Ske (TBC)

5. Little Shilpa Her work is never done 2010 Photograph, taken from mixedmedia installation piece made from everyday found objects that women use daily 47 x 61 cm Framed Edition of 10 + 1 AP

3. Susanta Mandal Pages of rough drawings, 2013–14 Steel structure, single motor, single led and silkscreen print on tracing papers 48,2 x 48,2 x 33 cm Edition of 5+1 AP Courtesy of the artist

6. Pushpamala N Portrait with Bicycle 2011 Giclee print 10 x 15,2 cm Edition of 6 Courtesy Latitude 28, New Delhi and Pushpamala N

7. Asim Waqif Abused Prints (M.G. Road) 2014 Mixed media on photograph, mounted on board 42 x 23 cm Courtesy Nature Morte, New Delhi 8. Sachin George Sebastian Untitled 2014 Handcut on Archival Paper (set of 4) 48,3 x 53,3 cm (each) 9. Sunil Gupta The New Pre-Raphaelites Untitled #4 2007-2014 26 x 39 cm Edition of 5+ 2 AP Courtesy of the artist 10. Sarnath Banerjee Untitled 2013 Ink and watercolor on paper 41,3 x 44 cm (framed) Courtesy Artist & Project 88, Mumbai


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beirut art fair 2014

words: india stoughton

Galerie Janine Rubeiz dishes up a diverse serving of art united by its pacifist agenda at Beirut Art Fair

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ulture, politics and society are so entangled with one another that inevitably the boundaries often begin to blur. In Lebanon, where war is an intrinsic part of the collective memory and the potential for fresh violence never far from the headlines, many artists’ work is imbued with references to conflict, trauma and the capriciousness of memory. This complex, fertile and potentially controversial subject matter is approached from numerous angles, as some artists choose to anchor their work within an archival or documentary context, while others focus on emotional impact, approaching violence and its aftermath in an oblique, sometimes abstract way. Take Generation War, the powerful selection of photographs from Lebanon’s Civil War exhibited at last year’s edition of the Beirut Art Fair. Curated by Katya Traboulsi, the exhibition focused not on violence

Bassam Geitani, White dwarf (naine blanche), 2013, 138 x 138 cm

Elie Bourgely, LAssassinat Du Taureau, 160 x 120 cm, BAF

Praying for Peace

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but on moments of fragile, precious peace amid the carnage, the beautifully framed photographs combining the aesthetics of “art” with the subject matter of documentary. By contrast, the installations exhibited at Agial Art Gallery last April by Berlin-based artist Salah Saouli are more subjective, multi-layered things. The mini-retrospective included a fragment of the 1992 installation Time Out, in which Saouli encases 23 portraits of young men - among the 17,000 people estimated to have disappeared during the course of the war - in wall-mounted light boxes, subjecting one viewer at a time to the mass scrutiny of the portraits they had come to see. More abstract still is the work of Rayyane Tabet, who evokes a child’s experience of conflict in his series Five


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beirut art fair 2014

words: india stoughton

Mansour El Habre, Untitled, 2014, 50 x 70 cm mixed media and collage on canvas

Mansour El Habre, Untitled, 2014, 50 x 70 cm mixed media and collage on canvas

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Distant Memories: The Suitcase, The Room, The Toys, The Boat and Maradona. The first work in the series, Fossils, consists of eight cementencased suitcases. Rooted

in the artist’s memories of drifting off to sleep each night with a packed bag at the foot of the bed, in case shelling should start during the night, they evoke perpetual

motion, unpredictability and a yearning for escape that is doomed to remain unrealised. Placed within this larger context of art relating to conflict, Galerie Janine Rubeiz’s booth at this year’s Beirut Art Fair focuses on peace — a state necessarily characterised by a lack of war. Divergence Tendencies in the Lebanese Contemporary Art brings together a disparate group of artists whose work is linked by a collective vision. “The artists are looking in the same direction,” Nadine Majdalani Begdache told The Art Paper. “They

have the same hopes for and [questions] about the near future, and a unanimous call for a peaceful future in Lebanon.” The work of the artists on show, who represent a large chunk of the gallery’s roster, differs vastly in terms of media and style, but the curated selection of works reveals thematic links that may previously have gone unremarked. From the elegant, playful doodlings of modernist Laure Ghorayeb and her son Mazen Kerbaj, to the politically charged collages of Mansour el Habre, via the beautifully staged photographs of Rania Matar and the abstract multimedia paintings of Hanibal Srouji, this cross-section of Lebanese art reveals both its commonalities and its breadth.


beirut art fair 2014

words: frank hornby

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esigners do not simply create objects; their hands preside over the simmering tensions of this world.” To say Philippe Trétiack, the latest curator of the BLC Design Platform in the Beirut Art Fair, has high expectations of design is something of an understatement. Trétiack himself – trained urban planner and architect, writer, columnist, 20-times published author and political reporter – is certainly a high achiever, in 2007 winning the Prix Louis Hachette award for journalism in recognition of his investigation into the fashion of Iran’s Mullah community. To the Art Paper, he professed his belief in designers as “social commentators” with the ability to “transcend common politics, not only providing a means of envisioning the future, but of imagining the past, rendering it acceptable, even appealing to everyone.”

Maya-Zeina, Racha and Yara, 2014, 39 x 16 cm diameter, Lacquered wood, Editions of 15

Philippe Tretiack takes OVER BLC DESIGN PLATFORM

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Sandra Macaron Bird Cage Armchair, June 2014, 95 x 60 x 60 cm, metal structure with laser cut metal sheet wrapped around it an upholstered seat and backrest

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Trétiack takes over from Jerome Sans in curating the BLC Design Platform at Beirut Art Fair this year. He tipped us off about some of the artists to watch out for this year, including the Rennie Mackintosh-esque work of Khaled El Mays, whose designs espouse the organic and natural with an interplay of colours

and “topped with hint of masochism.” He also name-checked the artilleryshell-breasted dolls of Carlo Massoud, which mixes up a soft, gentle beauty with something altogether more violent; and he’s keen on the delicate, poetic work of Sandra Macaron, who uses cages to explore ideas of entrapment and promise.

September 10 – October 17, 2014

Nostalgic Imagery* BAKS/ Art Concepts and Galerie Janine Rubeiz bring together four multi-disciplinary artists to investigate the power of Nostalgia:

Beirut- Lebanon Charles de Gaulle Avenue Majdalani Building (Audi Bank) Tel: 961 1868290 Fax: 961 1805061 gjr@inco.com.lb info@galeriejaninerubeiz.com Facebook: Galerie Janine Rubeiz Twitter: @Galerie Janine Rubeiz www.galeriejaninerubeiz.com

Dalia Baassiri

Chafa Ghaddar

Laura Pharaon

Galerie Janine Rubeiz opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10 am till 7 pm. Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. Closed: Sunday & Monday

Rima Maroun


LOCATION of REALITY Booth D2

Dyala KHODARY Edgard MAZIGI Abdullah MURAD Boshra MUSTAFA Mona NAHLEH Rana RAOUDA Nada RIZK Fanny SELLER Edward SHAHDA Amjad WARDEH Reem YASSOUF Yiğit YAZICI Raffi YEDALIAN Yamen YOUSEF

Saoud ABDALLAH Alaa Abou SHAHEEN Safa Al SET Mouneer Al SHAARANI Nabil ANANI Haibat Balaa BAWAB Carla BARCHINI Tarek BTAYHI Zouheir DABBAGH Naim DOUMIT Imad EL KHECHEN Nawar HAEDAR Hasko HASKO Nazir ISMAIL Zeina Kamareddine BADRAN

56th Youssef Hayeck Str. Gemmayzeh Beirut, Lebanon Tel: +961 1 570 331 +961 70 570 333 info@arton56th.com arton56th.com

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INSPIRATION IN YOUR POCKET: ART APPS TO DOWNLOAD NOW

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art apps to download now

In the words of renowned animator, John Lasseter, “The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.” Art and tech are continuously in dialogue, including the dialogue in your pocket that is continuously happening on your smartphone. Covering various areas of interest relating to the art world, from visiting world-class museums to sketching, sculpting or painting. Here are the best apps to download for when you feel like viewing, reading about, or producing your own art.

Louvre HD

Procreate 2.1

ASKetch

This may well be every artlover’s dream. A collection of the top 2,300 paintings from over 800 legendary artists like Da Vinci and Raphael, showcased at the Louvre Museum, can be accessed and taken everywhere in HD. Add paintings to Favourites, while getting immersed into one of Paris’ most elite landmarks.

Illustrating accurate pieces with ease using a 4K canvas is just an app away thanks to enhanced features like ColourDrop, for dragging and dropping colours in spaces of your choice, and Colour Wheel, where you can choose among a variety of shades. Turn your photos into a virtual canvas.

Sketch much? Beginners or pros can draw cartoons, landscapes or abstract themes and use a wide range of features like image zooming, image transformation, and pencil configuration modes. Seeing as how multi-touch gesturing is enabled, the use of a stylus is unnecessary: smudge, resize, and more, without an ounce of burden.

iOS 6.0+: iPhone, iPad, and Touch Android 4.0.3+ $1.99, itunes.apple.com; play.google.com

words: michelle franjieh

iOS 7+: iPad $5.99, itunes.apple.com

iOS 7.0+: iPhone, iPad, Touch $3.99, itunes.apple.com

National Portrait Gallery A great one for budding art history aficionados. Take a stroll around the National Portrait Gallery in London while visiting or viewing showcased pieces from a distance. Featuring videos and commentaries, different themes covering a span of up to 400 years can be browsed, including royal figures and celebrities alongside writers.

Illustration by Yasmina Nysten

selections art paper

iOS 4.2+: iPhone, iPad, Touch itunes.apple.com

ArtSite

MoMA

Art Set

123D Sculpt

Kids Art Keeper

Teaching art students interesting topics can sometimes get wearisome, which is why this app is quite practical for going beyond the chalkboard lessons. Images from galleries or museums can be downloaded to get a blast from the past, while customising at each grade levels. Educators can even manage portfolios and students’ classes.

Obsessed with modern art? Delve into the city that never sleeps (virtually, of course) and take multimedia tours of the walls of the Museum of Modern Art. Audio and video podcasts are all included along with detailed data about the featured artwork. Be present at the exhibitions in spirit.

Get an image to pop out of the screen- not literally like a hologram, but almost close. Containing a bunch of art tools such as five blending utensils, metallic and fluorescent colours, and 3D textured oil paint, this app makes it a breeze to simply be an uber creative artist!

Sculptors preferring to keep their hands clean when creating a masterpiece can sculpt and paint in 3D with the same functionalities like smoothing, pinching, flattening, bulging, and more. Once completing the sculptures with the option of using various hues, images of the artwork can be shared on social media pages.

Looking for a nice family gift idea? Capture and store your children’s artwork while creating an individual gallery for each child, if you have more than one little Picasso at home. Works can also be stored with added comments and can be ordered by date to eventually total into a photo-book.

iOS 5.1+: iPad only Free, itunes.apple.com

iOS 4.3+: iPhone, iPad, Touch Android 2.2+ $1.99, itune.apple.com, play.google.com

iOS 7.1+: iPad only Free, itunes.apple.com

iOS 7.0+: iPhone, iPad, Touch Android 2.0+ Free, itunes.apple.com, play.google.com

iOS 7.0+: iPad only $1.99, itunes.apple.com


New works now showing in Nice, France, by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige consider histories, geographies and virtual space. Their corresponding talk at Ashkal Alwan for the final chapter of the Home Workspace Program 2013-2014 addressed shifting boundaries – both real and perceived – as they considered film-making through the postcolonial lens of the contemporary digital

review: i must first apologize

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words: ari akkermans

Joanna Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Geometrie de l’espace S7Z0052, Photo by Jean Brasille

Terrains of uncertainty

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Must First Apologize, curated by Eric Mangion, is the current exhibition of Lebanese artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige that opened at Villa Arson, Nice, in early July. It showcases over a dozen new works, with an overwhelming presence of video installations in an immersive environment. Shortly after the opening, Hadjithomas and Joreige returned ‘home’ to Beirut, and delivered the lecture An Additional Continent at Ashkal Alwan, part of the final chapter of Home Workspace Program 2013-2014. Focusing on

The boundaries of their territory remain open, as a fragile combination of sites, sometimes virtual, sometimes real, often in between

Joanna Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. A Matrix, 2014 wooden blades sculpture 200, 110 x 110 x 110 cm, broadband sound, Courtesy the Artistes and galleries In Situ, Fabienne Leclerc (Paris), CRG (New York), The Third Line (Dubai).

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cinematic narration, the artists turned to Godard’s proposal: Cinema is one more continent. A new territory of possibility opens when certain boundaries are crossed in cinema. The artist duo presented also a number of works from the new exhibition, which culminates their fifteen years research with junk mail, spams and scams. They examine in these works not only modes of production of knowledge, and the possibility of certain imaginary things to shape reality, but also the postcolonial cartography of the virtual world and the

endless walls and boundaries of a world that while so globalized, still remains offlimits for many. Geometry of Space (2014) is a series of minimal sculptures in stretched oxidized steel, following the geographic itineraries of email scams across the earth, proposing alternative historiographies in which physical reality and virtual network overlap. The only older work included in the exhibition is the installation A Letter Can Always Reach Its Destination (2012), winner of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, featuring a hologram with human actors interpreting scam

A letter can Always reach it’s destination, Photo by Jean Brasille

work from a new series, inspired on a homonymous poem by Cavafy. Barbarian is a quintessential metaphor here for salvation, gazing into the voracious urbanities of Lebanon devouring themselves as if an organism decomposing from its own body fluids. The boundaries of their territory remain open, as a fragile combination of sites, sometimes virtual, sometimes real, often in between. I Must First Apologize, at Villa Arson, Nice, runs until 13th October

Waiting for the barbarians, video stills

emails and embodying them. This work is immediately connected to The Rumor of the World (2014), a large-scale installation on twenty-tree screens and a hundred loudspeakers. Here the same non-professional actors are filmed entirely differently in full-length and interpreting the e-mails individually. What is most perplexing about these works is how the artists seem to have abandoned their obsession with historical archives, and have turned their gaze towards the structures that produce the condition of history. But history as a fertile terrain of uncertainty is omnipresent in Hadjithomas and Joreige’s work, and these new works while not embedded in traditional archives, are still archival but altogether inscribed in grand historical cosmologies. At the beginning of the lecture, they also presented Waiting for the Barbarians (2014) a single new video


Raffi YEDALIAN

A solo exhibition by Raffi Yedalian at Art on 56th. The Opening Reception will be on Friday September 26, 2014, starting 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The artist will be present. The Exhibition will run until October 18, 2014.


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preview: artinternational

words: jennifer hattam

“It’s a truly international art fair with high-quality works, coherence and a good ratio between Turkish and international galleries”

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ighty modern and contemporary art galleries hailing from Helsinki to Hong Kong are set to join ArtInternational for its return to the banks of Istanbul’s Golden Horn in the fall. This year, the fair will bring with it a fresh focus on collecting practices and on experimental film and video art. The inaugural edition last September of ArtInternational brought

to Istanbul by Art HK co-founder Sandy Angus, netted an estimated 21 million euros in sales for its participating galleries. “It’s a truly international art fair with high-quality works, coherence and a good ratio between Turkish and international galleries. That differentiates it from other fairs in Turkey and the region,” says Istanbul collector Tansa Ekşioğlu. Her SPOT Projects initiative is

organizing the talks program for this year’s installment of ArtInternational, to be held 26-28 September at the Haliç Congress Center in Istanbul. In addition to the participating galleries from 24 countries, ArtInternational 2014 will feature screenings, performances, installations, a waterfront sculpture terrace and a section for alternative art spaces. SPOT’s

Heider Caroline, Shutter II DOraBenda Serie Fürstin Gina von Lichtenstein, 2013, pigment print on cotton paper folded, Courtesy of Galerie Raum Mit Licht and the artist

Bringing the world to Istanbul

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ArtInternational returns to Turkey with a globe-spanning selection of galleries and a new partnership with the Moving Image art fair

talks program will host individual collectors and patrons as well as directors of foundation and corporate collections who will discuss approaches, ethics and other aspects of their collecting practices.


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preview: artinternational

words: jennifer hattam

Hani Zurob Excuse me Lucian Freud This is the Painters’ Room, 2014, acrylic and pigment on canvas, 200 x 160 cm, Courtesy of Berloni Gallery and the artist

film and video art to be overlooked, according to Kathleen Forde, a New Yorkand Istanbul-based curator and one of five art advisors for Moving Image Istanbul. “The notion that there is no time at a typical art fair to stop for video prompted us to begin experimenting with ways to ensure video artists have an opportunity and context in which collectors (who increasingly make purchase decisions in art fair contexts) will slow

down and take the time to watch the work,” say Moving Image founders/directors Edward Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov, writing jointly in an email. “Moving Image Istanbul will include more VIP programming than we’ve

Gohar Dashti Today’s Life And War #5, 2008, inkjet print, 70 x 105 cm, Courtesy of Officine dell’Immagine and the artist

Though Istanbul’s artistic and cultural scene has boomed over the last decade, it is still very local, Ekşioğlu says, explaining that Turkish laws and regulations on taxes, customs and shipping keep the climate unfavorable for international galleries and auction houses. In this context, fairs like ArtInternational are particularly important, she adds, because they “bring new perspectives, new people, new works that help us deepen our way of looking at art.” Fresh perspectives are also provided by Moving Image (www.movingimage.info), a video- and experimental film-focused fair that will run in parallel to ArtInternational this year. With ongoing editions in New York and London, Moving Image creates a dedicated space for viewing media arts within the context of an art fair, where bright lighting conditions, short installation periods and the sheer density of works on display often lead

Ralf Peters, Japanische Kirschen, 2013, C-print on diasec face, 60 x 125 cm, Courtest of Galerie Kornfeld and the artist

Carlos Aires, Desastre LX , 2014, installation detail, Courtesy of ADN Gallery and the artist

Clemens Behr, Tür 1, 2013, varnish wood and door, 200 x 70 cm, Courtesy of Circle Culture Gallery, Photo by Uwe Walter

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ever offered before,” they add. “The goal here is to help gallerists for whom Istanbul may be a newer market, have the opportunity to meet the top collectors and curators in Istanbul.” The partnership between ArtInternational and Moving Image is expected to boost the

audience for both fairs and provide a potential model for joint programming in other cities in the future. It will also help bring media arts into the contemporaryart mainstream, Forde says: “We’re not showing these works in a ghetto, but within a larger context and a broader conversation.”


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Rania Matar, Forgotten People, Photography + Printed On Baryta Fine Art Paper, 73 x 110 cm, 2007 - 2009 Bashir-Makhoul, Wounds Lenticular prints, 2 x 4 m total, 2007 - 2008

Gallerist Mark Hachem curated a summer group show at Beirut Exhibition Center featuring the work of 18 artists of Palestinian origin, some living in the Occupied Territories, others in the Palestinian diaspora – all concerned with their homeland and its occupation, and their exile and identity

review: bridge to palestine

Mohammed-AlHawajri, Inspired By Eugene Delacroix, 1830 Liberty leading the people, printed on photo paper, behind plexiglass, mounted on alucobond, edition of 10 2 , 61 x 147 cm, 2013

Palestine personified: 18 artists on occupation and exile

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MohammedAl-Hawajri, inspired by Marc Chagall,1924, Above the city 1 10, printed on photo paper, behind plexiglass, mounted on alucobond, edition of 10 plus 2, 61 x 14 cm, 2013

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square cardboard egg tray boasts a strange clutch. Instead of smooth pink or white shells, the domes that rise from each cardboard valley are knobby and uneven, variegated shades of green and yellow spotted with black dots, evenly spaced like rivets. In his photograph Gazan Eggs, artist Mohammed Musallam has hollowed out the tops of custard apples, transforming the sweet fruit into hand grenades. A poignant reminder of the fate of the Gaza Strip, once home to lush orchards and quiet seaside villages, now embroiled in near constant violence and subject to crippling food, water and fuel shortages, the photograph was exhibited as part of a collective show at the Beirut Exhibition Center in July, entitled Bridge to Palestine. Curated by Mark Hachem, the exhibition featured the work of 18 artists of Palestinian origin, some living in the Occupied Territories, others in the Palestinian diaspora. The works on show ranged from traditional media such as painting and sculpture to installation and new media, but all were thematically concerned with Palestine, occupation, exile and identity.

words: india stoughton


powerful than occupation. Laila Shawa’s Where Souls Dwell V, a replica of an AK-47 machine gun adorned with colorful butterflies, peacock feathers and Swarovski crystals was another high point of the show. The work strips the weapon of its ability to kill, transforming it into a decorative but ultimately useless work of art, on which the butterflies represent the souls of the dead. Rula Hawani’s video work, Phototherapy, also explored themes of death and memory. A 15-minute loop shows photographs of Palestinians killed by the Israeli Defense Forces from 1948 until today, juxtaposed with shots of the Israeli medical facilities where the artist was forced to undergo UV light treatments to tackle a skin condition. Unfortunately, the overall quality of the show was compromised in places by poor presentation, sporadically functioning television monitors and a complete lack of lighting. The sunlight that penetrated the exhibition hall’s cloudy skylights came from vertically above the works, allowing video screens to shine in the gloom but undermining the other pieces, which would have benefitted from the illumination of the directional spots set up nearby.

Rula Halawani, Phototherapy, video projection intsallation, Courtesy of Selma Feriani Gallery, 2007

in Jaffa who now live in occupation, others by those born in the city after 1948, who continue to live there today. The letters, which range in length from a few powerful words to lengthy reflections rich with detail, together form a moving portrait not of a city, but of a dispossessed people for whom memory is more

Monther Jawabreh, Phantom series, C-print on canvas 50 x 70 cm, 2013

Tayseer Barakat, Rahil Departure, pencil on paper, 61 x 47 cm, 1987 Samira Badran siege print on textile, 240 x 120 cm, 2003

Highlights of the extensive exhibition included Nasser Soumi’s Icon to Jafa, an installation piece featuring 30 wooden boxes, in which bottles of local seawater were accompanied by waveshaped strips of dried orange peel and handwritten letters, some penned by Palestinians born and raised


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in the studio with manuella guiragossian

AN ILLUSTRATIVE ARTIST WHOSE WORK HAS BEEN AUCTIONED AT CHRISTIE’S AND AYYAM, MANUELLA GUIRAGOSSIAN SHOWS THE ART PAPER AROUND HER BEIRUT STUDIO, ALSO THE FORMER WORKSPACE OF HER FATHER THE IMPORTANT LEBANESE MODERNIST PAINTER PAUL GUIRAGOSSIAN. SHE TELLS US ABOUT FINDING HER OWN STYLE AND SEEING HER FATHER’S NAME NOT AS A SHADOW BUT A LIGHT THAT GUIDES HER

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he rows of slimframed modernist windows streaming light into the ninth-storey studio are a painter’s dream. High above Jounieh, with a view north to the sea and east over the city, this top floor apartment is where Manuella Guiragossian learnt to draw on her father’s knee. Decades later, this is now where she works as an artist in her own right, surrounded by her sketches and paintings mixed up among those of her famous father, Paul.

Manuella Guiragossian by Bernard Khalil

words: nour harb

Portraits of Manuella Guiragossian by her father Paul Guiragossian

In the studio with Manuella Guiragossian

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Manuella is not only the daughter of a renowned painter, but the youngest of six children who spent her formative years sharing a very special relationship with him, evidenced by the numerous portraits of her that hang in the entrance to the apartment that houses her studio, previously his studio prior to his death in 1993. She recalls his response to her first self-portrait, now hanging alongside his many of her, and pulls out a drawer brimming with sketches they made together when she was very young;

she would ask him to draw something – a horse, or a bird – and she would then add her primitive scribbles over the top, before he signed it ‘Paul and Manuella Guiragossian’. Beside the drawer, Manuella lays out on the floor her new series of bird illustrations that she’s preparing to exhibit in a huge grid at an upcoming exhibition in Dubai. Done in black paint-marker on white paper, each bird has a distinct personality – something she learnt how to do during her animation training at

“I take inspiration from everywhere. One day I’m flicking through a Klimt book and I get inspired by his spirals, and another day I’m Googling tropical birds or visiting a zoo in Europe”


Oil and acrylic marker on canvas by Manuella Guiragossian, 2014

coming to a canvas, for me, is still something that can feel quite challenging.” In terms of her approach, it is true, that it is more illustrative and animatory than traditionally painterly, although a naïve style of painting can hardly be found surprising these days. She usually has one or two main figures, quite large on the canvas, surrounded by little shapes – flowers, houses, animals – and always against a bold-coloured background. “I take inspiration from everywhere. One day I’m flicking through a Klimt book and I get inspired by his spirals, and another day I’m Googling tropical birds or visiting a zoo in Europe.” On one of the many desks in her studio Manuella creates collages made from pieces of old acrylic, become hard like plastic, which she arranges into birds or other creatures – “because where is it going to go otherwise? Into landfill? Into the sea?”

If there’s one thing about Manuella that stands out, it is her determination to retain the spirit of a child. Again, this is an attitude she took from her father, whom she remembers remaining excited and eager-to-learn throughout his life, even after becoming wellknown. “He showed me how to keep my feet on the ground and to always remember to have fun with what I do. Especially in Lebanon, we deal with mortality and heavy

stuff every day. During the Civil War my father created a cocoon here in which I could paint and play music. I’m holding on to that. It’s too easy to stop being innocent when you’re living in a war zone but we’re all children inside and my work is really about staying in touch with that.”

Painting in progress at the studio of Manuella Guiragossian

CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in Los Angeles. “They used to have us sketch people and movements very fast, one after the other, so I can really express characteristics quickly in a few strokes, which suits me because I like to work fast so I don’t lose the spontaneity.” As for the characters being birds, they are one of her favourite subjects and appear throughout her paintings and drawing, and more recently as experimental sculptures. Despite the debt and admiration Manuella so clearly feels towards her father, it is important for her to distinguish herself as not being a painter. “I needed to see myself as a different kind of artist, and although after many years I did become more confident in paint, I don’t think of myself as a painter, because I mix my materials and I prefer to work on a piece of paper, whereas


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collector profile: khaled samawi

words: nour harb

Khaled Samawi

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British Museum, and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, among many other important institutions around the world. Meanwhile, Gharem’s conceptual work broke sales records for art from the region at Christie’s in 2011, and has been exhibited at the Venice, Sharjah and Berlin biennales. So how did Samawi come to sell the works of these rising voices, and what is it about art that has captivated him since adopting his first piece – an English realist painting by George Clausen – from his father’s house in the US during his college years? The term ‘expressionist’ comes up both when discussing his early adoration of the Clausen work, and his passion for Middle Eastern art today. It seems that the

communicative, emotional tone of the paintings are central to their appeal to Samawi. It comes as a surprise that Samawi’s love story with art didn’t begin at home in Syria, but on the snowy slopes of Switzerland. “During the Nineties we used to go to Courchevel skiing every February and there were a few galleries where I used to go and spend time talking and occasionally buying art. It wasn’t until I moved to Syria around 2003 or 2004 that

Mohannad Orabi, Four Girls and a Boy, 180 x 360 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2010

he ongoing intention of Ayyam Gallery is to introduce Middle Eastern art to a wider audience, and at this it is certainly succeeding. Founded in Damascus in 2006, Ayyam now has three spaces in the Middle East and one in Mayfair, London’s most established gallery district. The artists it represents are often exhibited in group shows that survey the region from overseas; indeed the Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar recently received press attention when he was denied exit from the West Bank by the Israeli authorities as he tried to travel to New York City for the opening of Here and Elsewhere, the much-hyped exhibition at the excellent New Museum in which his work was included. Jarrar is represented by Ayyam, along with other notable artists that include Samia Halaby and Abdulnasser Gharem. Halaby, primarily a painter, was the first full-time female associate professor at the Yale School of Art, a position that she kept for nearly a decade, and her work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim, the

Georges Clausen RA, Harvest, oil on canvas, 74 x 94 cm

COLLECTOR PROFILE: KHALED SAMAWI

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THE SYRIAN FOUNDER OF AYYAM, ARGUABLY THE MOST HIGH-PROFILE GALLERY IN THE MIDDLE EAST, TELLS THE ART PAPER HOW HE FIRST CAME TO COLLECTING AND ABOUT THE WAY THE PRIVATE SAMAWI COLLECTION – WHICH CONTAINS THOUSANDS OF PIECES – OVERLAPS WITH THE SHOWS HE EXHIBITS IN BEIRUT, DUBAI, JEDDAH, AND LONDON


works being made here now are very powerful and they touch me – I guess I feel their story.” When he started to collect Syrian art, Samawi realised it was underrepresented by galleries, and therefore difficult to find. So in response, he founded Ayyam in Damascus. “I was forever driving for 45 minutes to studios in damp basements,” he recalls. “I thought these

artists deserved a more professional set-up.” Almost a decade later, and Samawi’s collection is so huge that it has themes within it; one such subject is War, and war in the region. In his view, while art is an asset class, he would never buy a piece for his private collection purely as an investment. “For me, every piece I own, particularly if it is in my home, is priceless. I enjoy seeing my kids grow up surrounded by these artworks – such things are priceless. Art is a multigenerational investment. You might sell a piece later but first you are going to live with it for 40 years.” Thinking about the works in his keeping, Samawi realises he may need some assistance with his burgeoning catalogue. “I should probably hire two or three people full-time to help categorise, research and nourish my collection because I’m an impulsive guy. If I like something, I just buy it, so… you know!”

Oussama Diab, The New Monalisa, 180 x 300 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2010

Safwan Dahoul, 120 x 100 cm, acrylic on Canvas, 2003

I got introduced to local contemporary and modern art. After that I started collecting Middle Eastern art more aggressively.” Today, he estimates that 80 per cent of the Samawi collection (which has been collaboratively built with his brother and family) is art from the Arab world. “To me, there is something humanitarian about Middle Eastern art, and with what is happening in the region, the


Blow Dry, 2014, Acrylic on canvas, 160 x 106 cm

Khaled Takreti LOL

11 September - 24 October 2014

Beirut Tower, Ground Floor, Zeitoune Street, Beirut T: +9611374450/51 beirut@ayyamgallery.com www.ayyamgallery.com

Profile for City News Publishing

Art Paper #04  

The Art Paper is the visual art supplement of bi-monthly culture & lifestyle magazine Selections. Produced in Beirut & distributed across th...

Art Paper #04  

The Art Paper is the visual art supplement of bi-monthly culture & lifestyle magazine Selections. Produced in Beirut & distributed across th...

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