Cycles of Collapsing Progress

  • Zad Moultaka

    Zad Moultaka attended the Conservatoire de Paris and has played at the Baalbeck International Festival. Zad Moultaka took part in musical collaboration with many artists around the world such as Ars Nova, Wakes, Hang notes SYMBLEMA, Musicatreize, the Netherlands Radio Choir, Schönberg Ensemble of Amsterdam, the Nouvel Ensemble Mo- derne of Montreal, the choir room of Strasbourg, the Master of the Bouches du Rhone and the chamber choir Elements. He is represented by Janine Rubeiz Gallery in Beirut.

    Don't Fall, Because Whoever Fell Will Fall for Good
    2018
    Multi-channel sound installation, ropes, lights

    Zad Moultaka’s sound composition and installation in the dome is inspired by the aztec myth of Five Suns, which is based on the idea that the world went through a cycle of four suns and each was destroyed by either earthquakes or hurricanes. The aztecs believed that we currently live in the Fifth Sun, this world is also bound to disappear unless mankind begs for mercy from the Fifth Sun. The title of the work, Don’t Fall, is taken from the codex chimalpopoca which has been translated from Nahuatl (the spoken language of Aztec). Moultaka’s composition mixes the sounds of the artist’s heartbeats, the noise of his hair’s friction akin to the cracking of an ice floe and chants. His composition references to how mankind is gradually destroying the planet’s ecosystem by engaging in an irreversible process of globalized industrialization and moving away from nature. The ropes connecting the ceiling to the floor as an extension of the iron rods, create a feeling of confinement comparable to the human condition although, in contrast, a hope, a light is perceptible

     

  • Stephanie Saadé

    Saadé b. 1983 graduated in Fine Arts from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France and attended a post-graduate program at the China Academy of Arts, Hangzhou, China. She was an artist in residence at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, The Netherlands (2014/2015), and the Cité Internationale des arts, Paris, France (2015).
    Her work has been exhibited at Sharjah Biennale 13, Sharjah, UAE / Museum Schloss Moyland, Bedburg-Hau, Germany / Home Works 7, Beirut, Lebanon. She is represented by Marfa Gallery in Beirut.

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    Moongold
    2018
    30 steel structures, photographs with gold leaf, engraved plaques.

    Moongold is a process on going for several years already where Stéphanie Saadé takes photographs of the moon with her mobile phone, whenever she notices it in the sky. The star is then gilded with Moon Gold leaf on the printed photographs, which form a diary of her travels, in close relation with the moon and its different phases. In Tripoli, the framed Moon Gold photographs are fixed on mobile structures, which the public can interact with and move around in space. The artist selected 30 Moon Gold, each taken on a different day and in different locations such as Beirut, Paris, Athens and Mexico. First organised chronologically, they are to be disseminated by the visitors of the show, as an ever-moving calendar.
  • Roy Samaha

    Roy Samaha is a Lebanese artist, living and working in Beirut. He explores the boundaries of filmic language, perception of reality and the memory of personal objects with works like, Residue 2017, Landscape at Noon 2016, Transparent Evil 2012, Inheritance & Dispossession 2008, Untitled for Several Reasons 2003, and has been shown at prestigious events such us, Sharjah Biennale 13, Sharjah Art Foundation (Sharjah), Space Edits, B.A.C. (Beirut), Too Early Too Late, Pinacoteca Nazionale (Bologna), Home Works Forum 6 (Beirut), Disobedience Archive, Bildmuseet (Umea), Image Counter Image, Haus der Kunst (Munich), Singapore Biennale 1 (Singapore), Videobrazil 14 SESC (SaoPaolo).

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    Sun Rave
    2018
    Video, 11 min.

    Roy Samaha’s video installation explores childhood anecdotes heard around an apartment that until 1989, when a major solar storm erupted, had been inhabited by a strange couple. Some suspected them of being undercover agents, while others said they were just some new age sorcerers. The work addresses the relationship between layers of history, outstanding events in nature and the ancient cyphering of language; how the cycles of the Sun’s unpredictable release of energetic flares affect the magnetic fields of the earth and influence radio transmissions, communication and reason on a mass scale.
  • Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige

    Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige collaborate as filmmakers and artists, producing
    cinematic and visual artwork that interwine. They won the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2017.
    For the last 15 years, they have focused on the images, representations and history of their home
    country, Lebanon, and questioned the fabrication of imaginaries in the region and beyond.
    Together, they have directed documentaries such as Khiam 2000-2007(2008) and El Film el Mafkoud
    (The Lost Film) (2003) and feature films such as Al Bayt el Zaher (1999) and A Perfect Day
    (2005).
    Their last feature film, Je Veux Voir (I Want to See), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroue,
    premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2008. They are represented by Fabienne Leclerc gallery in Paris.

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    A Space Museum
    2018

    On the 28 July 1962, Oscar Niemeyer arrived in Lebanon. That same summer, a group of Haigazian University students led by a mathematics professor, Manoug Manougian, launch two rockets into space, Cedar IIB and Cedar IIC, with the help of civil engineers and the Lebanese army. The launches and research, intended to expand “space exploration and studies” are made possible by funding assigned to The Lebanese Rocket Society by President Fouad Chehab the previous year, enabling the group to develop a fantastic scientific and modern experience. From 1960 to 1967, more than ten rockets were launched into the sky before the project was suddenly stopped, and totally forgotten.

    From 2011 to 2013, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige made a film and a series of artworks about this surreal yet entirely serious space adventure. This “tribute to dreamers” critically explores the 1960s, political utopias, modernism, failures, and the dreams of science fiction and what their reactivation would produce in the present. At the end of their film, an animation sequence imagines an uchronia had the project continued in Lebanon, featuring the society’s very own Space Museum.

    Invited to participate in the exhibition Cycles of Collapsing Progress and on a visit to the site, the artists and filmmakers were surprised to discover, under a helipad, a hidden Space Museum, conceived and built by Oscar Niemeyer as part of the Rashid Karami fair. The museum would have been one of the first of its kind.

    These two projects—independent of each other and yet inextricably linked—are brought together here for the first time. The research and artworks of Hadjithomas and Joreige question the relationship between two contemporaneous but suspended projects, The Lebanese Rocket Society and Niemeyer’s Space Museum, “bearing lasting witness to the evolution of the conquest of the cosmos”, in the words of the architect.

  • Marwan Rechmaoui

    In 2011, Rechmaoui debuted his UNRWA series, which included hand drawn maps on concrete, wood, and tin of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and a series of found objects exposing different cluster munitions collected after the 2006 war in Lebanon, as well as the crew whose efforts helped gather these clusters. Rechmaoui’s Pillars (2013-2016) tackle the theme of deconstruction/reconstruction with an installation of domestic objects – various materials collected from crumbled ruins of a residential building - embedded in a concrete pillar; a basic structural element in urban architecture. Flowers, pillows, among other decorative items reflect the burden of the past. He is represented by Sfeir Semler Gallery in Beirut/ Hamburg.

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    If I Only Had a Chance
    2018
    Non-shrinking grout, resin.

    Rechmaoui’s reproduction of the Experimental Theater, the most famous structure in the Fair, allows the edifice to become a sculpture. With the material of resin, the architecture inside the dome becomes visible. Working on the subject of public spaces and landmark architectures in Beirut for many years, Rechmaoui pursues his practice outside the capital of Beirut. As the only closed edifice within the Fair in Tripoli, his installation unveils the structure of the dome by opening it to the public. This transparency (or lack thereof) is one of the reasons for the current state of the Fair and Lebanon in general, which is in permanent status quo. Public spaces in Lebanon are scarce, and the Fair is perhaps the only ideal one in Lebanon, and yet like many other public spaces in the country, it remains closed.
  • Ali Cherri

    Ali Cherri is a video and visual artist based in Beirut and Paris.

    His recent solo exhibitions include Somniculus at Jeu de Paume, Paris and CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2017); Tretyakov Gallery Moscow (Sep. 2017); Galerie Imane Farès (Oct. 2017); Jönköpings läns museum, Sweden (2017); Sursock Museum, Beirut (2016). He is the recipient of Harvard University’s Robert E. Fulton Fellowship (2016) and Rockefeller Foundation Award (2017). He is represented by Imane Fares Gallery in Paris.

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    The Disquiet
    2013
    Film: HD, color, 20 min, stereo, French/English.

    Earth-shattering events are relatively par for the course in Lebanon, with war, political upheaval and a number of social revolts. While the Lebanese focus on surface level events that might rock the nation, few realize that below the ground we walk on, an actual shattering of the earth is mounting. Lebanon stands on several major fault lines, which are cracks in the earth’s crust. The film investigates the geological situation in Lebanon, trying to look for the traces of imminent disaster.
  • Jalal Toufic

    Jalal Toufic is a thinker, writer and artist. Since 2015, he is Head of Art Department at ALBA, he was a Professor at the Department of Communication Design at Kadir Has University, Istanbul. Previously he has taught at the University of California at Berkley, Berkeley, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, and in Amsterdam at Das Arts and at the Rijksakademie. He is the author of The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster (2009); Undeserving Lebanon (2007); ‘Ashura’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins (2005); Two or Three Things I’m Dying to Tell You (2005); Undying Love, or Love Dies (2002); Forthcoming (2000); Over-Sensitivity (1996; 2nd ed., 2009); : An Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film (1993; 2nd ed., 2003); and Distracted (1991; 2nd ed., 2003). He also co-edited special Discourse issues.

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    The Matrix for AI et AI. 
    2018

    — The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher), film, 41 hours and 24 minutes, 2018
    — The Matrix for Radical Simulationists (aka How to Read The Matrix as a Cypher), film, 72 hours and 36 minutes, 2018
    — The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher)—A Timesaving, Perception-Taxing Version, film, 137 minutes, 2018

    The images we see of the vast simulation dubbed the Matrix, at least those that are not the subjective views of the humans in the simulation, are illustrative images and sounds provided to the film spectators of The Matrix (1999) by its two directors, Lana and Lilly Wachowski. In my version of The Matrix, what happens in the Matrix is provided in Unicode (Universal Coded Character Set)—on the right side of the screen for images, and on the left side of the screen for sounds. At various periods in history, books were written and paintings were made not only for kings and princes but also for gods, demons, angels, God, etc. The narrator of the fourth of Rilke’s Duino Elegies asserts: “I won’t endure these half-filled human masks; / better, the puppet. It at least is full. / I’ll put up with the stuffed skin, the wire, the face / that is nothing but appearance. Here. I’m waiting. / Even if the lights go out; even if someone / tells me ‘That’s all’; even if emptiness / floats toward me in a gray draft from the stage; / even if not one of my silent ancestors / stays seated with me, not one woman.… / … Am I not right / to feel as if I must stay seated, must / wait before the puppet stage, or, rather, / gaze at it so intensely that at last, / to balance my gaze, an angel has to come and / make the stuffed skins startle into life. / Angel and puppet: a real play, finally”; his waiting and intense gaze is addressed not to a human but to an angel, who would startle the puppet into life, and the play is addressed, through his waiting and intense gaze, not only to humans but also to an angel. While The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher)—A Timesaving, PerceptionTaxing Version (2018), the component of my film trilogy The Matrix for AI et Al. where the Unicode sections are speeded so they take only as much time as the images they supplant, is still addressed mostly to humans, especially those who, like The Matrix’s Cypher, are trained to read computer codes, the two versions that last 41 hours and 72 hours, The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher) (2018) and The Matrix for Radical Simulationists (aka How to Read The Matrix as a Cypher) (2018), respectively, would be addressed mainly to artificial intelligences, who would be able to read the code of the film and “see” images (since Unicode is a machine language, a machine would be able to go back from the code in my version to the images and sounds of the original The Matrix film). Nonetheless, might a human who would watch the 72-hour and 41- hour films in their entirety achieve enlightenment?* If not, might he or she, notwithstanding not having been trained to read the computer code, begin after forty or sixty or seventy hours to recognize patterns in the scrolling Unicode, then perceive fleeting images, then see whole audiovisual scenes (as Cypher, who follows what happens inside the Matrix, a simulation, by looking at the code on his computer monitors, tells Neo: “There’s way too much information to decode the Matrix. You get used to it, though. Your brain does the translating. I don’t even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, and redhead”)? Given that he did not understand the machine language though, he could not dispel the suspicion that these scenes were hallucinations that veiled the scrolling Unicode rather than being the images and sounds coded by it.

  • Edgardo Aragon

    In the work of Edgardo Aragón the structures of power, violence and politics are addressed in recorded performances that recreate past events, freely mixing stories from domestic and political contexts. Describing his oeuvre, the artist states: “My work often evolves around how power from a higher level is used to segment a large part of the population.” His videos, serene in appearance, display scenarios formed by landscapes that in fact hide a political discourse. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at various institutions including at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, México (2017); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2016); the CAPC, Bordeaux (2016); Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City (2012); and MoMA P.S.1, New York (2012). His work has participated in various group exhibitions including at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil (2017); the Jewish Museum (2015); the Kadist Art Foundation (2013). He is represented by Mor Charpentier Gallery in Paris.

    Mute
    2018
    Sound, film installation

    Aragon’s audio-visual work Mute focuses on the story of rappers from Tripoli with neither identity papers nor passports due to a fault in the Lebanese system. The work sheds light on the dichotomy between their very present voice and their very non-existent legal situation. The project situated in the Lebanese pavilion takes the form of a walkthrough a capella concert, in which the public can listen to different rappers without seeing them. The conscious choice of not showing the singers brings the public back to the opposition in the performers’ lives.

    “The installation also includes a video installation that only shows the female chorister’s shadow in the citadel of Tripoli whilst singing with a choir. Her shadow reminds the public that the artist wants to raise women’s voices above all others. This replicates the different games of light and shadow, symbols and predictions in Mexican pre-Hispanic cultures, related to the advent of a new cycle. The citadel—in contrast to the fair—is a strategic location in the region’s history, a space that is the symbol of Europe’s advance to possess or occupy symbolic geographical spaces like these: first during the Crusades, then through colonialism, then the modernist era, now in the age of capitalism.”

    Participation of the Straighoutta’ band: Youssef Ibrahim, Leader Oussam Ibrahim Bassel Assad Safa Ali Hassan, Choriste
  • Fritzia Irízar

    Fritzia Irízar’s work has questioned the value of money and its purchasing power, she plays with the economic and symbolic revaluation of objects as they move from their common field to art. Her work recognizes that history and science are almost fictions, built on small surfaces of knowledge and are subject to the decision of a few individuals. However, they are fictions that we want to hold: as acts of faith, of belonging, of will or certainty.
    Fritzia obtained the 2011 Bancomer-MACG scholarship and a commissioned work for Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) during that same year, the residency program AIR-KREMS in Austria in 2013. In 2016 she was part of the residency program at Les Récollets, Paris and Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco. She participated in the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre in 2013 (curated by Sofía Hernández Chong), had a solo exhibition at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (2014) and participated in the 2015 Mercosul Biennial (curated by Gaudencio Fidelis). She is represented by Arredondo/Arozarena Gallery in Mexico.

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    Untitled (Planned Obsolescence)
    2018
    Video, 1 min (documentation of a performance), sawdust carpet and pigments, cedarwood stick.

    Based on the analysis of two concepts, obsolescence and equilibrium, the project will explore how a point of equilibrium is at the heart of every civilization, preventing them from the decadence characterised by individual struggle within the context of a collective entity.

    Nature, human creativity, circumstances, skills are placed in a scenario in which mythology and reality, ancient and recent symbols of opulence and uncertainty are dislocated to complete a puzzle of significance.

    The artist is a member of Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte.

    Rope Performer: Nicolas Haddad, Cirquenciel
  • Jorge Mendez Blake

    Mendez Blake sees libraries not as isolated buildings, but as constructions that hold inexhaustible sources of information, and are thus able to create microsystems that address specific issues such as landscape or love. Méndez Blake’s work oscillates between reality and fiction when merging the architecture of places like the Library François Mitterand in Paris, or the Public Library in Seattle, with landscapes –and fragments- of fantastic literature, to become cultural metaphors which meaning expands to different areas of knowledge. He was a recipient of the Cisneros grant in
    2015 and has had solo shows in many instittions including Marfa, Texas. He is currently represented by OMR gallery in Mexico.

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    Utopía (El No-Lugar es un Lugar Real) / Utopia (The No-Place is a Real Place)
    2017-1028
    Variable media.

    The first edition of Utopia by Thomas More was published in 1516. The book describes an unknown island whose inhabitants live in an egalitarian, peaceful and democratic society where private property, class differences or the vices of European society of the XVI century do not exist. Over time, the term—whose Greek etymology means “no-place”—has been frequently used to describe idyllic places, perfect societies or unattainable values. The idea of modernity, which has been developing in the West for over two centuries, has also been intimately linked to the idea of utopia, associated in this case with a point in the future whose promise can be reached through progress and technology.

    From another (perhaps more superficial) perspective the term “utopia” has been used as a name for different hotels and accommodation around the world, in which the idea of utopia is associated with escaping the everyday life and retiring to an idyllic place filled with well-being and pleasure. Traveling to locations in China, the USA, Thailand and Greece, Méndez Blake has visited some hotels named “Utopia” with the intention of analyzing the hotel’s architecture, documenting the city and above all, writing a letter to Thomas More from a place that really is called “Utopia”, converting the “no-place” into a “real place”. Thus, using different media, Méndez Blake creates a complex narrative, associating Thomas More’s original text with the chronicles of fictitious trips to the island and reflections on modernity and contemporary society

  • Gabriel Rico

    Gabriel Rico works and lives in Guadalajara Mexico. His work is a study of the process of
    production. Originally educated as an architect, the artist is interested in exploring the compositional
    possibilities of objects. He thinks of his installations as «thought experiments,» and evaluates the
    human relationship to nature and myth. He previously explained: «I try to create pieces that fragment
    the composition of contemporary human and evidencing the geometric imperfection in the nature.»
    He is also fascinated by the interplay of philosophy and science; and uses that which is measurable
    to investigate the abstract. He had solo exhibitions at Perrotin Gallery, New York and was included in
    several group shows in galleries such as OMR and institutions such as MAZ Museum (Guadalajara)
    and HISK in Ghent Belgium.

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    Prodigal Son
    2018
    Taxidermy, ceramics, mirror, neon, brass, drawings.

    This intervention proposes man as a center, with his practical and mystical knowledge gravitating around him. Ancient cultures that flourished on the territories defined today as the Middle East and Mesoamerica could see the same stars in the sky, the difference only being the names with which they were identified. For example, the Pleiades were called Tianquiztli by the Olmec, meaning ‘the market’ and the Sumerians called them Mul-Mul which means ‘the stars’.

    This practical fact implies that the firmament is similar to a channel through which all humans connect, and that because its observation can be accomplished everywhere at the same time, its influence is equally important everywhere. Because of this absolute influence that the stars have had and will continue to have on the human, they became the basis of the piece by the artist.

    In this work, the symbolism of the human as the heart and the very center of the cosmos is important. Positioned as “the prodigal son of creation”, human beings have access to celestial knowledge and through which they acquire the ability to create new knowledge and matter.

    Special thanks to: Abdellatif Al Chammaa
  • Damian Ortega

    Through the use of wit and humor, Damián Ortega deconstructs both familiar objects and processes, altering their functions and transforming them into novel experiences and scenarios. Ortega’s works play with a scale that ranges from the molecular to the cosmic, applying the concepts of physics to human interactions, in which chaos, accidents, and instability produce a system of relations in flux. Inverting and dissecting, reconfiguring and zooming in, he explores the tension that underlies every object and the infinite world inside them. The result of his inquiries reveals the interdependence of diverse components, be it within a complex engineered machine or a social system. Although his
    projects –which he envisions through drawing– take form in sculpture, installation, performance, film and photography, for Ortega the work of art is always an action, an event. His experiments inhabit a space where possibility and the quotidian converge to activate a new way of looking, one that transcends the original context of simple objects and everyday relations.

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    Harvest
    2013
    Steel sculptures, lamps.

    Inspired by his mother’s handwriting, the piece is an installation of twenty-seven thin sculptures hovering in mid-air, lit individually so that their shadows project the letters of the alphabet. Passing from the 3D to 2D, the artist explores the original significance of Legere, reading in Latin, which also means ‘harvest’. The letters stand for the maturity of our languages, from which we can pick meanings like we pick ripe crops during harvest. As cultures and societies evolve, languages must follow. If they don’t, they are in danger of becoming obsolete. Thus, like ripe crop that if disregarded fades, when languages stops evolving with the cyclical development of culture it becomes obsolete. Linking the development of languages to natural cycles, Ortega offers the public a reflection on the “tissue” that makes up languages.

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    Controller of the Universe
    2007
    Found tools, wire.

    Controller of the Universe is part of an explosion. The center of this piece is the viewer, since in the middle there is a space for observation that operates as the vortex of the angle at which each single suspended tool is located. This piece is titled ironically after Diego Rivera’s mural painting from 1933, and unfortunately it has become some sort of a statement. The piece has been wrongly interpreted as a masculine and epic work that praises tools and views men as the center of the world. What intended was to show the brutal technical control that is permanently available. The eye is at the center of the piece, and then you find a tool anywhere you look. Tools become an extension, but also a frontier or filter. This is the same duality involved in any sort of human technology. the ambivalence came, of course, because the artist’s fascination for tools and technology. The title comes from the mural that Rivera did at Rockefeller center in New York, which the sponsor destroyed because Marx and Lenin appeared on it. The mural depicted a worker as the center of technological, artistic and scientific development.
  • Emanuel Tovar

    Using forgotten materials and elements, recycled, reused, and recuperated from a social context in which consumerism is prevalent and social classes are increasingly more pronounced, Emanuel Tovar realizes sculptural constructions through a chaotic precarious process. Similar to the practices that occur in conflictive contexts (where construction is made with the most elemental and close at hand materials), his works generate tensions to make us aware of that which prevails in the periphery; to recuperate ¨other¨ histories. Tovar has had solo exhibitions in Guadalajara at the Museo de
    las Artes, Arena México, and Museo Raúl Anguiano. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Charro Negro in Guadalajara, Triangle Project Space in San Antonio, The Balmoral in Los Angeles, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, among others. He is represented by Paramo Gallery Mexico.

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    Monumento a la Inmaterialidad / Monument to Immateriality
    2014
    Documentation of a performance, film, 9 min

    Monumento a la inmaterialidad (Monument to immateriality) begins with the confrontation between the amorphous rock and the stonecutter. Gradually, the carver will forge the rock by first creating a cube from which he will later carve a sphere and then form a pyramid, and finally the piece is carved irregularly. The stone loses volume and matter with the carving, until the original rock disappears completely, its process of formal transformation concludes by turning into dust, becoming nothing.

    This work process, which goes through the basic geometric forms, seeks to reach the intangible; in the same way that, over time, different civilizations built one above the other, leaving the past as a mere foundation, in order to rise to an uncertain future. By means of the disintegration of the stone, a kind of monument (or anti-monument) is constructed that without a certain form makes space for new ideas, emotions, abstractions and thoughts, giving shape to immateriality.
  • José Davila

    Davila’s work addresses the question about the limits of instrumental values through the use of common materials to create sculptures, objects and installation. Frequently, the nature of these materials approaches architecture and construction, as well as formal artistic production, which subscribes his work to principles coined by Minimalism and Arte Povera. Dávila has also manifested a special interest in the use and occupation of space, issues that have been present throughout his career.
    He is represented by OMR Gallery in Mexico.

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    Newton's Fault
    2017
    Metal beams, boulder, flagstone, synthetic apple, stainless steel wire.

    Dávila’s work combines ostensibly opposed materials, resulting in installations in which forces and forms are balanced to achieve a harmonious whole. His creations produce a representation of our doubts and own contradictions. The artist’s work is a visual and material aporia, an insoluble logical paradox, where we discover a coexistence of fragility and resistance, calm and tension, geometry and chaos. Dávila’s sculptures are a reflection of the phenomenon of gravity, the laws of static and dynamic energy, the tractive force used to generate motion and the compression strength, the potential for deformation prior to the rupture of materials, and, above all, of structural intuitions. The assembly of delicately balanced materials highlight the human intervention that transforms the space and re-signifies the object. The structures created by Dávila work within their own logic in search of the exogenous center of gravity and at the limits of the resistance of the materials, where form is a consequence of process.
  • Haig Aivazian

    Haig Aivazian (b. 1980, Beirut, Lebanon) is an artist, curator and writer. Using performance, video, drawing, installation and sculpture, his work weaves and personal and geo-political, micro and macro narratives in his search for ideological loopholes and short circuits. Aivazian holds at MFA from Northwestern University and is a Skowhegan alumni (2011). Refugee Olympics , part of the FUGERE project, was commissioned in France, Germany, Poland, Austria, Turkey, Lebanon, the UAE, Brazil, Canada, and the United States Refugee Olympics , which was commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 9 (2009) Other parts of FUGEREwere exhibited in a solo show at Sfeir-Semler gallery’s Hamburg space (2013). Collapsing Foundations, an installation and video performance work showcased in a solo exhibition at Parisian Laundry’s bunker space, Montréal (2012). The Moving Museum (2014), videobrasil’s, The 56th Venice Biennial 2015, The Museum of Modern Art Warsaw (2015), The Moving Museum (2014), Aivazian’s video works have been included in several exhibitions and festivals at the 14th Istanbul Biennial 2015, curated by Carolyn Christov-Barkagiev Southern Panoramas (2013), FID Marseille (2012), and Mercer Union, Toronto (2011).

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    Rome is not in Rome
    2016
    Copper, steel, wood, leather

    The objects in Rome Is Not In Rome are based on architectural and cultural fragments, inspired by perceptual elements like shadows, refractions, and mirages. These sculptures offer a reflection on the narratives of power that are invested in archeological artifacts, and on what happens to those narratives in an age of globalized patrimony and museology. Initially designed to occupy four empty pools in Marrakech’s El Badi Palace —a 16th century Saadi Dynasty ruin — the installation includes Aqueduct: a two-part pipe like column made of fired clay and concrete, Stadion: a leather upholstered fer-forgé coliseum, Well: a highly reflective red copper sink propped up onto a zelige tiled platform and Two Women at a Fountain: a large yellow copper hand clasping a circular wooden handle, based on an aquarelle by Eugene Delacroix. Each of the objects is meant as an encounter with a disparate historical fragment, where viewers happen upon the collection of items as an intriguing finding of sorts.

    Rome Is Not In Rome
    is an investigation of historical motifs and motives which approach archeology and architecture as powerful tools that shape ideology and that have constructed visions of the world from the very first formulations of a global imaginary. The project seeks to make evident an uninterrupted lineage between early forms of looting and dispossession, and a softer form of cultural hegemony as formulated by contemporary global cultural initiatives such as The Louvre, The British Museum and others..
  • Rayyane Tabet

    Rayyane Tabet (b. 1983, Achqout, Lebanon) lives and works in Beirut. He received a Bachelor in Architecture from The Cooper Union in New York and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of California in San Diego.He has had solo shows at Kunstverein in Hamburg (2017), daadgalerie, Berlin (2017), Witte de With center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2017), Museo Marino Marini, Florence (2016) and TROUW Amsterdam (2014). His work has featured in the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018), the 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017), the 32nd São Paulo Biennial (2016), the 6th Marrakech Biennale (2016), the 10th & 12th Sharjah Biennial (2011 & 2015), the 55th Venice Biennial (2013), and the 2nd New Museum Triennial (2012). He is the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award of the Sharjah Biennial (2011), the Jury Prize of the Future Generation Art Prize (2012) and the Abraaj Group Art Prize (2013).

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    Colosse aux Pieds d’Argile
    2015
    Marble and sandstone columns, marble and sandstone bases, concrete cylinders

    Colosse Aux Pieds D’Argile is a large-scale sculpture composed of marble columns and concrete cylinders that transform the exhibition space into a field. The columns are reclaimed from a nineteenth-century house in Beirut that was clandestinely destroyed by a group of workers to force its reluctant owners to sell it. The cylinders are concrete stress test samples from the skyscraper that was built to replace this house. The work confronts two versions of the same architectural element – the column – acquired from the same site spanning the course of one hundred years of urban development. Both the house and the skyscraper have reflected different ideals of how life should be lived. Both have been extrapolated into ideas of how homes should be built, un-built or re-built. Each has been used to usher concepts of modernity and each holds within their building blocks the seeds of their own unmaking.
  • Lamia Joreige

    Tripoli, Soundscape Variations. From the City to the Fair
    2018
    Multi-channel sound installation
    Sound recording and mixing: Anthony Sahyoun (Tunefork Studios)
    Voices: Elio Constantine and Lamia Joreige

    One cannot but question the promise of a place meant to be connected with the rest of the city; a place meant for trading and leisure, a public space. The fair didn’t fulfill its expected program and never functioned in any other sustainable ways. Today, although used on rare and irregular occasions, the quiet and empty site remains largely inaccessible to the public. Indeed, only a few people can enter it, yet its scale is so big that no one can ignore its existence. It’s like a void within Tripoli. The fair’s architecture and scale are visually striking and create a sense of fascination, which the artist tried to resist when invited to work on this site in the past, by refusing to produce any visual work aside from documentation on what has now become a monument.

    This situation triggered the idea for the multi-channel sound installation by Lamia Joreige, where she proposes to reconnect, through a poetic gesture, the bustling life of Tripoli with the almost secluded site of the fair. She recorded sounds in various landmarks and mundane places in the city such as the fishermen’s auction at the harbor of Mina, the successive muezzins’ calls for prayer heard from the citadel, and the lively old souks and children’s voices from Bab al-Tabbaneh.

    These sounds were then played and then re-recorded inside the impressive spherical structure of what was originally designed by Niemeyer as an experimental theater, only impregnated this time by the physicality and materiality of its architecture. As the dome remains uncompleted, any diffused sound creates an echo and reverberation. The installation presents the variations on these soundscapes of Tripoli, through scattered speakers across the fairground. They are interspaced by the recordings of voices reading documents about the fair’s history: its promise of modernity and prosperity, which echoed that of a newly born nation; as well as the war, which prevented its completion, putting a halt to many dreams.

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    Description of a Monument
    2018
    Steel plates, with text

    Description of a Monument playfully refers to the plates usually placed at the entrance of monuments, public buildings and gardens, which describe their history and function. In this work, using text and drawing, Lamia Joreige takes the landmark buildings in the Tripoli International fair as a site and a pretext to interrogate and reflect on the history of the place and to a certain extent, of Lebanon: from the Lebanese government’s ambitious idea to commission Niemeyer to build the fair, up to the period of the war, which halted its construction and led to the presence of the Syrian Army in the fairground; until today’s speculative projects of reviving the fair for an uncertain future.

  • Pablo Davila

    Rhythmic Field
    2018
    Mirrors, metronomes

    “... And that question is this: when we look around the world, as scientists have done for the last hundred years, there appear to be about 20 numbers (26 physical constants) that really describe our universe. These are numbers like the mass of the particles, like electrons and quarks, the strength of gravity, the strength of the electromagnetic force—a list of about 20 numbers that have been measured with incredible precision, but nobody has an explanation for why the numbers have the particular values that they do. And the wonderful thing is, if I had 20 dials up here and I let you come up and fiddle with those numbers, almost any fiddling makes the universe disappear.” Brian Greene

    In this quote, Brian Greene is talking about the 26 constants in physics. These 26 numbers set the rules for our universe, and from these rules arise infinite combinations. According to one theory (string theory), if we get to look at the tiniest of the tiniest particles in our universe, we would find individual strings that vibrate at different frequencies and forms that combined with others eventually shape our universe. Every single known thing is made up of the combination of different rhythms, every person and every thing we know has its own set of rules, characteristics and clocks. Thus societies and cities are formed with these individual “clocks”, we and the universe are the result of millions and millions of combinations. Everything is related, there is an interdependence within all things in our universe.

    In this work, metronomes rest on top mirrors, and are set in motion randomly, generating a soundscape that will eventually end every day, and then set again in a completely different pattern than the previous one based on chance timing and certain individual decisions. The work allows random events to function within the context of a controlled system. Thus, the infinite combinations of rhythmic patterns are set in motion. Each day a new event, never the same twice. During the month-long exhibition of this work, the soundscape and also the reflected landscape will always be different to each viewer. An infinite cycle of patterns.

    The universe is a symphony of different clocks, and we are nothing but melodies