Selected Exhibitions

Sharjah Biennal 11 (2013)

Under-Writing Beirut—Mathaf
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

View of ‘Objects from the National Museum of Beirut’

View of the book ‘Objects Missing from the National Museum of Beirut’

View of the sculpture ‘Object of War’ & the video ‘180 Degree Garden View’

View of the sculpture ‘Object of War’

View of the photograms ‘Views of museum square’

Photogram. ‘Views of museum square’

Photogram. ‘Views of museum square’

View of the silkscreen. ‘Museum crossing’

Sharjah Biennal 11 (2013)

Two multimedia installation were presented in the Sharjah Biennial 11 curated by Yuko Hasegawa:
Under-Writing Beirut—Mathaf (2013)
Multimedia installation, variable dimensions
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation for Sharjah Biennial 11
Beirut Autopsy of a City (2010)
Multimedia installation (3 chapters), variable dimensions


Under-Writing Beirut—Mathaf (2013)
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.


Beirut Autopsy of a City (2010)

This project proposes possible reconciliations between the task of the archaeologist and that of the poet, between modern images and ancient texts. In the middle of tales of conquest and defeat that shaped (and disfigured) Beirut, one wanders amidst narratives that point out to the impossibility of constructing a grand history.

The first chapter A history of Beirut’s possible disappearance exposes collected elements from various epochs, juxtaposed and overlapped in what seems to be a timeline; they constitute poetic associations between image and text, creating inter-temporal relations between those elements. These fragments question the validity of a complete and comprehensive history and propose instead a fictionalized narrative.

The second chapter Beirut, 1001 views is a large projection of a wide view of the harbor. This image, a multi-layered one, is an amalgam of different photographs taken at various times, each referring to a specific moment of history. It is therefore a fictive representation of Beirut that embodies simultaneously different periods of history, hence being neither a past image nor a present one, yet one reflecting a time that is non-linear. Elements of the image disappear while other appear almost imperceptibly.

The third chapter Beirut, 2058 displaces the anxiety from the past and its remnants and projects it unto a future apocalyptic realm. A narrator speaks of numerable troubles of the past that seem to have culminated in a catastrophe