The Janine Rubeiz Gallery in Beirut opened a group exhibition in early June that includes works by seven different artists in their artistic styles, namely artist Joseph Harb, artist Adelta Estefan, artist Alan Fasoyan, artist Ahmed Ghaddar, artist Elissa Raad, artist Christine Kattaneh and artist Maha Yammine. The exhibition summarizes what was presented in the hall in terms of poetic works in content and form. It will continue until the end of June.
Often group exhibitions, especially those presented at the end of the season of artistic performances, are presentations by young artists, who appear for the first time through their participation in a work. In other cases, the exhibition is more like a summary of the diverse artistic activity presented by the hall throughout the year. However, what is found in this exhibition presented by the prestigious gallery “Janine Rubeiz” in the world of art, does not belong to such exhibitions.
One who looks at the works that varied between video installations, paintings, artistic installations and sculptures will find a wonderful world in terms of its removal from reality while it is in the center of hell. Hell is also not normal and is not related to one incident without the other, but it is comprehensive and includes the condition of human beings in a place called Lebanon.
The visitor will not find in this exhibition hot colors, but frost to the extreme. As for this hellish frost, he is first and foremost psychological and secondarily collective, and is out with all his cold, calm, and horrible wounds from fragments of accumulated and homogeneous accidents, some of which produced each other. so much so that it is difficult to separate them from each other.
Art is the language of reality
Wars are happening in all countries. In all countries, corruption is unleashed, some countries are invaded and others drowned by various kinds of crises. In Lebanon, he added to all this a high degree of surrealism and absurdity, which resulted in a prevailing logic best expressed by art.
The press release accompanying the exhibition comes full of fragmented ideas and cracks, which were not made by strong explosions, but by the sharpness of the blades and their criminal slowness.
And what was said in the statement: To collect the barks of humanized (human) dogs, pieces of bodies that deviated from their humanity, words from tense and vague lines and types of empty games with their meanings, origins and purposes. in a narrow rift where time is distorted: all the knots of life have become strange and beyond.
Poetic description is often exaggerated, but not in this case. We do not know whether an attempt to shorten the biography of modern Lebanon is enough to justify, legitimize, and explain what is presented in the hall. But it is certainly a necessary effort to understand the works in their separation from each other in terms of style and content and their participation at the same time in the formation of a homogeneous text and narrative that is very realistic and is at its peak and its strangeness.
It has been more than 30 years since the end of the Lebanese war, at least officially. Then several years passed in which the Lebanese thought they were facing a new future and a new life, unaware that the general anesthesia that engulfed their memory and the general amnesty that washed the criminals of their crimes, that resulted from it that we might call the end of a naive instrument of ending the war would be a direct cause for the resurrection of the war monsters again. Monsters multiplied over the next few years, becoming wilder and more sophisticated.
The artwork looks delusional, very realistic and understandable with everything she wanted to bring out in front of the viewer.
Then came the so-called Lebanese revolution, which formed an awareness uprising involving all ages and social segments of society. After that, disasters of all kinds followed, shocks multiplied and dreams were shattered, then they bounced back dozens of times to disappear to the altar of corruption and crime, which has deepened its roots and today requires a lot of strength , courage and perseverance to eradicate it. him by his origin. But until that happens, we think about works of art that look like delirium, but as we mentioned above are very realistic and understandable with everything they wanted or could bring out in front of the viewer.
Among the artists participating in this exhibition, we mention the artist Joseph Harb, who presents a plaster sculpture of a human foot standing and stripped of nature’s ability to walk and connect with the man who lost or the man who was. not initially, on the artist’s account.
As for artist Christine Katana, she presents an animated film and printed artwork in which she plays with the letter “baa”, which refers to the idea of ”home”, its boundaries, its many faces and submission. hers. for a range of violations.
Every artist has his own opinion
Elsewhere in the gallery, artist Elissa Raad displays 3 oil paintings and 12 photographs. They are self-images that transform and change and remain gray in meaning more than they are in their form, their appearance in an open mirror to a visual, that is nothingness, or death in all its forms.
As for the artist Ahmed Ghaddar, he presents a group of works entitled “Inflation” and covers the deepening economic crisis, which, in terms of the science of numbers, is extremely absurd and mercury.
On the other hand, the artist, Adelta Isefan, presents a group of very poetic works with delicate and eloquent writings on white pages hanging on one of the walls of the hall, entitled “He knew” about the political background of the explosion of the Port. of Beirut in 2020 and the responsibility of a specific political figure, who is ostensibly supposed to have been aware of the presence of nitrates, the ammonium that blew up Beirut.
Those who seek to diversify the works will find a wonderful world in terms of its removal from reality while it is in the midst of its own hell.
Artist Alan Vasoyan displays kinetic sculptures and interactive artistic installations for some dogs referring to the stray dog massacre that took place recently in Lebanon. It is a specific massacre that refers to other massacres that happened and are happening every day in Lebanon.
While the artist Maha Yammine presents a videotape with 5 people playing cards, a game that the Lebanese have been playing for many years, but in the video there is white paper. Despite this, this game goes on for hours, during which players are immersed in various conversations at the height of the absurd.
Time flows in the hall at the heart of the messy crack, as if it were non-stick adhesive, or as if it were a poison with a very slow effect. It flows before our eyes and appears numb and hellish at the same time in the works published in the heart of the hall or, as the press release accompanying the exhibition reveals, “From the heart of the suspended massacre, the whole world is suspended. . In the midst of it, art became a statement about the experiences and observations accumulated from the years that dug holes in the walls of memory and in the wrinkles of time. to be in vain. Let art be a manifestation of this absurdity on this earth that is disappearing little by little, on our insignificant bodies that dissolve in the lava of experiences. ”