The exhibition is on contemporary strategies in touristic practices; globalism with a focus on contemporary nomadism; the colonization of the world through tourism; and transporting homes around the world. The title of the show is "Moving Home(s)”.

We are proud to present works by the following artists, almost all of whom have created new and original works for the exhibition
:
 
Atelier van Lieshout
Balthasar Burkhard
Diller + Scofidio
Jimmi Durham
Dan Graham
Bernard Khoury
Stephan Mörsch
Peter Piller
Ursula Schulz-Dornburg
Rayyane Tabet  
 

 

 

 Atelier van Lieshout
Joep van Lieshout, born 1963 in Ravenstein, the Netherlands; lives and works in Rotterdam
 
Is the Dutch conceptual Group founded in 1995 by Joep van Lieshout. For many years, AVL has been active in the field of art, design, furniture and architecture. They havebecome known worldwide for their installations about our contemporary, nomadic way of life. For Moving Home(s) AVL selected a number of items out of Slave City (2005/2006) a sinister utopian project which is very rational, efficient and profitable. Slave City is an up-to-date concentration camp made with the latest technology, and management insights. Except the many necessary infrastructure and service buildings there is also sumptuous head office, safe and cosy village for the higher employees, education, health centre, brothel and art centre. Slave city mainly consist out of 2 dimensional works (Ink on Canvas) with topics out of Slave City. The artworks show buildings (brothels, factory’s, university) as well as the participants (dentist, butcher) of Slave City. Beside that there are models of the buildings, like the Mini Modular Brothels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Balthasar Burkhard
Born 1944 in Bern, Switzerland; lives and works in Bern
 
 
Is the famous Swiss photographer who has been making silver prints since the early 1960s. He is not only an artist; he is one of the very few photo technicians in the world who is able to print fantastic silver prints in huge formats. His photos are minimal, always black and white, and usually framed in iron. Burkhard is interested in the human body, in animals or in panoramas from the bird’s eye-view perspective. He has created panoramas from deserts, rain forests and metropolises like Mexico City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Shanghai. Upon our invitation, the artist came to Lebanon and completed works about the city of Beirut.

 

 

 

 

Diller + Scofidio
Liz Diller: born 1954 in Lodz, Poland
Ricardo Scofidio: born 1935 in New York; lives and works in New York

The principal interest of these architects, who are based in New York, is architectural theory and conceptual installations; they have been awarded many prizes and invited to participate in leading exhibitions at museums and biennales. Diller+Scofidio have produced several installations and projects focusing on topics such as ” tourism and war”, the contemporary individual as a functioning robot, and the standardization of international culture. Inter Clone Hotel is an advertising campaign for a fictional hotel chain springing up in newly emerging economies where globalization is erasing distinctions between the “third world” and the “first world.” While diversity is inevitably collapsing into the mono-cultural landscape, tourism retroactively fabricates diversity for its own sustenance. 

 

 

 

 Jimmie Durham
Born 1940 in Arkansas, USA; now lives and works in Berlin
 
Is a nomad, who was born Native American and has never settled anywhere or lived for longer than a few years in the same spot. His sculptures, installations, and happenings are always unexpected. Durham principal interest involves human identity and the concept of the globetrotter, without losing his Native American roots. His works have always revealed an important component of whimsy and humour.

 

 

 

 

 Dan Graham
Born 1942 in Urbana, Illinois/USA; lives and works in New York
 
Is one of the leading minimalist American artists. His photos “Homes for America” are important testimonies of the concept of “home”: these house-units could be located anywhere. His “Mirror-Glass Pavilions” are fragile homes on a human scale; often created with curved lines, they are minimalist sculptures that recall contemporary surveillance systems: you can look out of them but not into them.

 

 

 

 

   Bernard Khoury
Born 1968 in Beirut, Lebanon; lives and works in Beirut
 
Is certainly the most prominent contemporary architect emerging from the Arab world. His architectural projects have an important conceptual dimension. His work has been extensively published in the International Press. We are proud to show Khoury’s first installation in our Beirut space. The architect will be showing a multi-media sculpture and computer-generated montages.

“[ SS / DW ] is a site-specific device conceived to establish a relationship between the gallery and my design workshop. The physical proximity of the two spaces and their morphological correspondence within the same building made the device-ruse inevitable. Hovering 2 plus meters above floor level, the visitor is lifted into the suspended pod to discover a production spread over eight screens displaying consecutive panoramic surveys taken from the same spatial coordinates on the two consecutive floors. The gallery’s panorama gradually mutates into the workshop space while the visitor gets transposed vertically from one space to the other.”

 

 

 

 Stephan Moersch
Born 1974 in Aachen, Germany; lives and works in Hamburg
 
Is one of our young artists who just started a promising career. Moersch makes models of houses with surveillance cameras and monitors, he also conceives black and white drawings as storyboards telling a police story. His homes and bunkers are contemporary ruins without inhabitants, reminding us of our fading, transitory passage as inhabitants of these homes.

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Piller
Born 1968 in Fritzlar, Germany; lives and works in Leipzig, Germany
 
Has amassed an archive with thousands of professional, press and police photos. In his series ”von Erde schooner,” he uses aerial photos from a commercial photo studio which has photographed 20,000 very normal houses, planning to sell them to their inhabitants. Piller creates a series of inkjets, portraying very normal middle-class houses in Germany of the second half of the 20th century.

 

 

 

 

 Ursula Schulz-Dornburg
Born 1938 in Berlin; lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany
 
Is a photographer; she is a world traveller who captures the beauty of the transitory. One of her main concerns is the archaic need of the human being for housing. In this show, we present her “bus stops” through Armenia and her “water houses“ in Iraq, ephemeral houses that have been since destroyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 Rayyane Tabet
Born 1983 in Ashqout, Lebanon; lives and works in New York
 
Is a Lebanese artist and architect studying at Cooper Union University in New York. The youngest artist of the show, Tabet is presenting his very first installation in a contemporary art gallery. At a very early age, he started to create installations featuring a refined sensibility and strong conceptual basis. His main inspiration is his own biography and childhood in a city: Beirut, tormented by war, fear and death. He sublimates everyday objects such as mattresses, soap or suitcases into surreal, symbolic codices.

“Fossils” is a reflection on erratic war scenarios as they become normalized. Our infatuation with the idea of having to leave our homes at any given moment during the civil war -and the fact that we had to have our bags packed beforehand in case of emergencies-, grew to become a latent consideration of the way we organize ourselves and our habitat today. There is always an unconscious urge to be ready to leave, as if the safest homes we ever had were the suitcases we once packed.

 

 

 

 

 

Press 
 
The Daily Star, Saturday, July 22, 2006 Exhibition looks back on Beirut's violent past, now made cruelly present 'Fossils' drew on memories of transitory existence by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie Daily Star staff.

Fifth Columnist

SCITUATE, Massachusetts: Rayanne Tabet's installation "Fossils" should have been the last of its kind.

An arrangement of vintage suitcases covered in concrete, Tabet's piece carries the immediacy of Mona Hatoum's "Traffic" (a 2002 sculpture of two suitcases with human hair spilling out) and the solemnity of Rachel Whiteread's "Untitled (Pair)" (a 1999 installation of 18 cast bronze mortuary slabs). On July 6, "Fossils" served as the threshold through which one entered the exhibition "Moving Home(s)" at Karantina's Galerie Sfeir-Semler. Tabet placed his different-sized, concrete-covered suitcases on the gallery floor in pairs and trios throughout the foyer. A few suitcases stood alone.

Tabet was born in the mountain village of Ashqout. He should have no memory of Israeli invasion. He was sevenwhen Lebanon's Civil War ended in 1990. He should belong entirely to the post-war generation. "Fossils" reaches into what should be the very limit of his childhood memory - going to sleep every night with a bag packed with bare necessities at the foot of his bed.

As the gallery's owner, Andree Sfeir-Semler, described it, Tabet's piece explores the paradoxical relationship between heaviness and lightness, the pain of living through war and the need to be nimble and able to move. The placement of each suitcase suggests at once an arrangement of cemetery graves, a broken grid of urban buildings, and the division of families thrust into exile. The material references the building stock of Beirut itself. "Fossils," writes Tabet in his artist's statement, "is a reflection on erratic war scenarios as they become normalized. Our infatuation with the idea of having to leave our homes at any given moment during the civil war - and the fact that we had to have our bags packed beforehand in case of emergencies - grew to become [habit] ... In a way, the concrete transforms the suitcases into fossils or monuments that bear within them the tragedy of a given instant." How cruel that this glance back at history, this reflection on reliquaries from the past, has become the horrific, anxious present. Those Beirutis not displaced already, their homes not yet reduced to rubble, are now quaking in fear - gauging the possibility that the Israeli military offensive that began nine days ago will crush what is left of Beirut, and them with it. Trapped between two extremes and held hostage by a war not of their making, their bags are again packed and ready to go. Since Lebanon's Civil War ended in 1990, Beirut artists have probed and kneaded its history and experience to create works that are, by turns, critical, provocative, and poignant. Overall, the point has not been to make meaning of war, but rather to recover the faculty of meaning after its complete foreclosure.

Tabet's piece should have been the last mournful sigh of the post-war project. It will not be. But neither must it be lost. Now, it must be a link. One of the most frustrating, fascinating aspects of Beirut's cosmopolitan post-war cultural life has been how ephemeral it is - fueled on projects, festivals, and one-off events as opposed to actual institutions or concrete venues. Because it is ephemeral, in times of crisis, it seems the first thing to go. Seems. In Tony Hanania's 1999 novel "Unreal City," set in the late, ugly days of the Civil War, the narrator - an exile from Beirut - ruminates: "The city had become a dark star into which those blindly falling could send back no return signals, their final images suspended as if in some immortal relief against the void horizon." Today, the signals are returning. Blogging, texting, emailing and the like ensures there is as yet no threat of falling blindly into that dark star. "The amount of text, photos and videos that are escaping the bombing curtain and getting out is a quantum leap over what was possible in 1982," emailed the Visible Collective's Naeem Mohaieman on July 20. "It's up to us to act on it. Do not let this be the beginning of another decade-long occupation. Demand an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal." I write this somewhat stranded in the small town near Boston where I grew up, having traveled four hours before Israeli warplanes began pummeling Rafik Hariri International Airport.

I have no idea whether Rayanne Tabet is safe, or Andree Sfeir-Semler, or any of the other artists who live in or traveled to Lebanon for the opening of "Moving Home(s)." I have no idea how I will get back to Beirut with my own packed bag. With a humanitarian crisis looming in Lebanon, a critical reading of Tabet's work seems crass. But, though this may sound foolishly optimistic, I am sure "Fossils" matters. Holding on to Tabet's work, placing it next to Mazen Kerbaj's trumpet improvisation of a few nights ago entitled "Starry Night (Mazen Kerbaj & the Israel Air Force," maintaining these links, I am sure this means everything. Thousands of kilometers away, blinking at indifference all around, I want to say I am sure Beirut's cultural life hasn't been destroyed; it's just been urgently rerouted. Still ephemeral yes, but still there nonetheless. For now, Galerie Sfeir-Semler's Web site says the Beirut gallery is temporarily closed. This announcement follows the appropriately blustering alarm line, in all caps, "IT IS WAR IN LEBANON!" "Moving Home(s)" was meant to run through late November. Perhaps the gallery will reopen and the show will go back up, though radically changed circumstances will have shifted its meaning. If that happens, Tabet's piece will no longer be the last of one era but the first of another.

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie
Copyright (c) 2006 The Daily Star