Centre Pompidou (2014)
Centre Pompidou (2014)
Une Histoire – Art, architecture, design des années 1980 à nos jours
Curated by Christine Macel
A History. Art, architecture, design from the 1980s until today, is a new presentation of the Centre Pompidou collections that brings together the best of contemporary art since the Eighties with around 400 artworks and 200 artists, architects and designers. Paintings, sculptures, installations, videos, movies, drawings, photographs, sit alongside architecture and design, introducing a brand-new approach to the last thirty years of art.
Catalogue of the exhibition published by Centre Pompidou, Flammarion
Under-Writing Beirut—Mathaf (2013)
Multimedia installation, variable dimensions
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation for Sharjah Biennial 11
Evoking the idea of a palimpsest, the multi-chaptered project Under-Writing Beirut, sheds light on layers of temporal deposits that are enmeshed in an open-ended process of absorption, erasure and reconfiguration. It looks at historically and personally significant locations within Beirut’s present, investigating their sociological, political and economic history. The project incorporates various layers of time and existence, creating links between the traces that record such places’ previous realities and the fictions that reinvent them.
Mathaf, the Arabic word for museum, is the first chapter and focuses on the area where I live in Beirut, known as Mathaf, home to the National Museum of Beirut, and located along what was once the Green Line, which divided east and west Beirut throughout the Lebanese Wars. During the wars, and despite preservation efforts made by the museum conservator to protect the collection (with concrete), the museum building was destroyed and part of its small yet impressive collection was severely damaged, looted, or lost.
Under-Writing Beirut—Mathaf responds to the impossibility I faced while attempting to access artefacts in the museum’s storage as well as its archives, and to the only objects made available from them—the damaged Good Shepherd mosaic and a photograph documenting it from the time of the wars, when a sniper made a hole in it to gain a strategic view onto the museum square. By re-enacting the sniper’s line of sight, the video 180 Degree Garden View puts us in a position to imagine what the sniper saw and whom he may have killed through the hole. Based on photographs and measurements of the sniper hole, Object of War, on the other hand, is the negative of that hole, cast as a concrete sculpture. Its initial impetus rests on the practice of the imprint as a trace of contact with a body or void.
Objects from the National Museum of Beirut is partly inspired by the inaccessibility of the museum’s stored collection. It dwells by default on the only part of it that is visible, the entirety of the display on December 15, 2012. By reproducing every caption identifying the objects on show, the work ironically and vainly attempts to represent the museum’s holdings in one image, uncovering the politics of historiography and questioning the museum as a foundation for national identity. The leather-bound book Objects Missing from the National Museum of Beirut emphasizes the secrecy surrounding objects that vanished from the museum and suggests an archive that may or may not have existed.
Haunted by an unresolved past, Views of Museum Square (shot from my window) and Museum Crossing suggest how the museum site, meant to represent national union, became a symbol of the country’s division and the backdrop for sectarian violence.