Part I_Chapter 1_Section 79: Walid Sadek’s Love Is Blind (Modern Art Oxford, UK, 2006):

In 2006, the artist, writer, and prfessor Walid Sadek produced and exhibited his Love Is Blind in Suzanne Cotter’s Out of Beirut in Modern Art (Oxford, U.K.).
Walid’s work consisted of ten framed captions, ten paintings by Mustafa Farroukh, and ten texts displayed on two facing walls, each containing five captions, paintings, and texts. The walls were painted white, and were around 4 meters hihg, 6 meters long and 50 cm. wide each.
The captions consisted of printed labels mounted behind a plexiglass plate. Each plate measured around 10 X 15 cm. All captions included the name Mustafa Farroukh in Arabic and English as well as Farroukh’s dates of birth and death in parantheses. Each caption also included some information in Arabic and English about the displayed Farroukh paintings: title; date; medium; dimensions; collection; wheter the work is signed or not as well as the position of the artist’s signature on the back of the work; other notations by Farroukh on the back of the work.
The displayed texts were in Arabic and English and were positioned above and below the captions. The content of the texts was more or less the same, made available in the two languages. The text ranged in lengths from seventeen to sixty-five words in English, and eleven to fifty-seven words in Arabic. The texts were left-justified, and appeared to have been silkscreened in black matte paint on the wall, with a 12 point Sans Serif font used for the English text, and a 10 point unkown font for the Arbaic. The text in Arabic was placed less than 1 cm. above its accompanying caption. The text in English was placed around 5 cm. below. The word „name“ and/or it plural „names“ appear at least once in eight of the tent texts.
The captions and texts were separated by a white space that approximated the dimensions of the Farroukh work referenced in the captions.
In 2008, I asked Walid to lend his Love Is Blind to this exhibition. Walid hesitated, refused, hesitated again, and then agreed.
In a conversation in April 2008, we agreed that Walid’s work will not be displayed. During our conversatiion, Walid expressed his adminration of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning artwork produced in 1953. I concurred.
In July 2008, I asked a number of individuals to recommend good tromp l'oeil painters. The artist and professor Mhammed Rawas recommended the painter Rita Adiamy, among others. I commissioned Rita to paint on the gallery walls a reproduction of Love Is Blind as it appreared in an installation shot that Walid forwarded me.

 

 

 Part I_Chapter 1_Section 79: Index XXVI: Artists

This is a random choice of names of Lebanese painters listed between
the end of the XIXth century and 1990. The names are fitted to the complete
length of the room. Each name is written in Arabic, cut in white vinyl, and mounted in 3 layers on the wall.

 

 

Part 1_Chapter 1_Section 8a: Museums

 

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), Detail, 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), Detail, 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), Detail, 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), Detail, 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), Detail, 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), Detail, 2008

  • Mixed Media: wood, plexiglas, video, high density foam, light 282 x 104 x 32 cm / base 147 x 56 x 64

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), Detail, 2008

  • Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004), Detail, 2008

 

Part I_Chapter 1_Section 139: The Atlas Group (1989-2004)

Between 1989 ad 2004, I worked on The Atlas Group, an art project about the contemporary history of Lebanon, with particular emphasis on the wars of 1975 to 1990. I found and produced audio, visual, and literary documents that shed light on this history. The documents were preserved in The Atlas Group Archive which is located in Beirut and New York and is organized in three types of categories. [cat. A] refers to documents attributed to individuals; [cat. FD] stands for documents attributed to anonymous individuals or institutions; [cat. AGP] is the abbreviation for documents attributed to The Atlas Group itself.

This display presents the contents of The Atlas Group Archive:

Document title: Hostae: The Bachar tapes (#17 and #31)_English version
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. A]_Hostage_Videotapes_017/031
Media: Single channel video
Duration: 18 minutes
Date: 2000
Attributed to: Souheil Bachar


Document title: Let's be honest, the weather helped.
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. A]_Raad_Photographs_001-017
Media:Color photographs
Dimensions: 46 X 72 cm.
Date: 1998
Attributed to: Walid Raad


Document title: My neck is thinner than a hair: Engines.
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. AGP]_Thin Neck_Photographs_001-100
Media:Black and white photographs
Dimensions: 23 X 32 cm.
Date: 2001
Attributed to: The Atlas Group


Document title: We decided to let them say, "we are convinced," twice.
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. A]_Raad_Photographs_001-015
Media:Color photographs
Dimensions: 111 X 180 cm.
Date: 2002
Attributed to: Walid Raad


Document title: Notebook volume 72: Missing Lebanese wars.
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. A]_Fakhouri_Notebooks_72_131-149
Media:Color photographs
Dimensions: 25 X 32 cm.
Date: 1989
Attributed to: Dr. Fadl Fakhouri


Document title: Notebook volume 38: Already been in a lake of fire.
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. A]_Fakhouri_Notebooks_38_055-071
Media:Color photographs
Dimensions: 30 X 40 cm.
Date: 1991
Attributed to: Dr. Fadl Fakhouri


Document title:Civilizationally, we do not dig holes to bury qurselves.
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. A]_Fakhouri_Photographs_962_986
Media:Black and white photographs
Dimensions: 22 X 34 cvvm.
Date: 1958-1959
Attributed to: Dr. Fadl Fakhouri


Document title:Miraculous beginnings and No, illnes is either here nor there.
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. A]_Fakhouri_Films_238-239
Media:Two-channel video
Duration: 1:43 minutes
Date: 1993
Attributed to: Dr. Fadl Fakhouri


Document title:Secrets in the open sea.
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. FD]_Secrets_Photographs_016-021
Media:Color photographs
Dimensions: 111 X 173 cm
Date: 1994
Attributed to: Anonymous


Document title:Sweet talk: The Hilwé commissions (1992-2004).
Category_File_Type_Tapes: [cat. AGP]_Sweet Talk_Photographs_277-900
Media:Color photographs
Dimensions: 111 X 111 cm
Date: 2004
Attributed to: Lamia Hilwé


Document title: I only wish that I could weep
Category-File_Type_Tapes: [ cat. FD]_ Weep_Videotapes_001-006
Media: Single channel video
Duration: 5 minutes
Date: 2002
Attributed to: Operator #17


Document title: I was overcome with a momentary panic at the thought that they might be right
Category-File_Type_Tapes: [ cat. AGP ]_ Thin Neck_Maps_1994O
Media: Mixed Media
Dimensions: 330 cm. diameter
Date: 1998
Attributed to: Nahia Hassan


Document title: We can make rain but no one came to ask
Category-File_Type_Tapes: [ cat. AGP]_ Thin Neck_Videotapes_21.1.1986
Media: Single channel video
Duration: 18minutes
Date: 2003
Attributed to: The Atlas Group in collaboration with Yussef Bitar rand Georges Semerdjian

 

  • Exhibition view Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

  • Exhibition view Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

  • Exhibition view Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

  • Exhibition view Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

  • Exhibition view Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

  • Exhibition view Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

 

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 16-18: A National Pavilion (2005)(Plate 18)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 16-18: A National Pavilion (2005)(Plate 17)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 16-18: A National Pavilion (2005)(Plate 16)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 22-24: Lebanon's National Pavilion - Venice (2007)(Plate 23)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 22-24: Lebanon's National Pavilion - Venice (2007)(Plate 22)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 22-24: Lebanon's National Pavilion - Venice (2007)(Plate 24)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 56-58 Dr. Kirsten Scheid´s Fabulous Archive (Plate 56)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 56-58 Dr. Kirsten Scheid´s Fabulous Archive (Plate 57)", 2008

  • ": Appendix XVIII: Plates 87-89: Study in Yellow, Orange and Blue, (Plate 87)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 56-58 Dr. Kirsten Scheid´s Fabulous Archive (Plate 58)", 2008

  • ": Appendix XVIII: Plates 87-89: Study in Yellow, Orange and Blue, (Plate 89)", 2008

  • ": Appendix XVIII: Plates 87-89: Study in Yellow, Orange and Blue, (Plate 88)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 105-107: Tireless Pursuit III, (Plate 105)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 105-107: Tireless Pursuit III, (Plate 106)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 105-107: Tireless Pursuit III, (Plate 107)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 122-124: Tireless Pursuit IX, (Plate 122)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 122-124: Tireless Pursuit IX, (Plate 123)", 2008

  • "Appendix XVIII: Plates 122-124: Tireless Pursuit IX, (Plate 124)", 2008

 

 Part I_Chapter 1_Section 271: Appendix XVIII: Plates
 
Sfeir-Semler Gallery is pleased to present the first Beirut solo exhibition by Walid Raad titled: A History of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art _ Part I _ Chapter 1: Beirut 1992-2005. The exhibition includes six new works, including mixed media installations, sculptural works, and photographs. Over the past ten years, the Arab world has witnessed the emergence of a number of contemporary art festivals, art funds, cultural institutions, art galleries, art fairs, and collectors of contemporary art. Moreover, the planned construction of several large art museums and art schools in the Arab Gulf raises a number of questions about how culture, and in particular contemporary visual art will be conceived, made, distributed, and consumed in the future, not only in the Gulf, but in the Arab world in general, and beyond. Needless to say, these developments are part of a broader economic trend whereby cultural tourism figures more and more as an engine of economic growth, as has been evident in Europe, North and South America, and the Near and Far East.
In 2008, Walid Raad initiated a research project about the history of contemporary and modern Arab art. On the one hand, his project aims to identify and unpack the ideological, economic, and political dimensions of this recent fascination with visual art in the Arab world. On the other hand, and proceeding from the writings of Jalal Toufic and his concept of “the withdrawal of tradition past a surpassing disaster,” Raad intends to examine whether and how culture and tradition in the Arab world may have been affected, materially and immaterially by the various wars that have been waged there by native and external powers.
Raad’s exhibition in the Sfeir-Semler Gallery is his first solo show in Lebanon and the Middle East. The exhibition is titled A History of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art _ Part I _ Chapter 1: Beirut 1992-2005. With this exhibition, Raad presents the first chapter of his on-going art project. The works concentrate on a range of concerns, from the above-mentioned emergence of a high art infrastructure in Beirut over the past fifteen years (the advent of not-for-profit cultural institutions, white cube galleries, grassroots festivals, national biennale participation, etc.) to a close study of the question of intra-art historical reference in fellow artists’ artworks. In this sense, Raad presents two complimentary propositions. He proposes an analysis of the local, regional, and international “fascination” with artworks and artists form the Arab world and Lebanon. And he creates works of art where the very buildings blocks of his images and forms are precisely the elements (contemporary and historical) made available by this emerging infrastructure for the creation, distribution, and consumption of Arab artworks and artists. Moreover, he creates artworks that attempt to be referential, in the sense that they hail other Lebanese and non-Lebanese artists and artworks.
Raad’s exhibition is divided into 6 sections, each occupying a distinct space in the gallery. The exhibited sections are titled:
- Preface: Title 23
- Appendix XVIII: Plates
- The Atlas Group (1989-2004)
- Museums
- Walid Sadek’s Love Is Blind (Modern Art, Oxford, U.K.)
- Index XXVI: Artists.
As such, the exhibition takes the form of an unfolding book or research project, sections of which are made available in the gallery. Each section considers an element of this amorphous field for the production, distribution, and consumption of artists and artworks in Lebanon. For example, in the section titled Appendix XVIII: Plates, Raad creates images using colors, texts, and images extracted from various documents he has been gathering over the past few years such as exhibition and festival catalogs, art school mission statements, theoretical publications, museum proposals, artists indexes, art historical dissertations and theses, and art market data). These documents are here deployed as formal elements in six large photographic triptychs (175 X 405 cm. each). Book and exhibitions titles, book covers, and office stationary here become the building blocks and forms for the creation of seemingly abstract and highly formalized images.
In the section titled Index XXVI: Artists, Raad displays the names of over 150 artists who have worked in Beirut over the past one hundred years. The names, barely more than two centimeters in height each, are printed on white vinyl letters, and mounted in one of the gallery’s white walls in a twenty-two meter straight line. The names literally disappear and appear in the room, thus marking the white cube gallery space as the condition of both the visibility and invisibility of the artist as a figure with a name, a history, and a biography. With this exhibition, Raad expands the investigation he began with his fifteen-year art project titled The Atlas Group about the question of the document in media arts, violence and its various physical, psychological and phenomenal forms, and the possibilities and limits of creative acts. With The Atlas Group, Raad’s exploration was concentrated on historical and fictional events and situations about the wars in Lebanon over the past thirty years. In A History of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art _ Part I _ Chapter 1: Beirut 1992-2005, Raad’s objects of study are the notions of the modern and the contemporary in Arab Art, and (following the writer and artist Jalal Toufic) how creative acts by artists, writers, and other thinkers may help us think, feel, and experience how and if the violence of the past decades in Lebanon and the Arab world has affected citizens, cities, and objects but also culture and tradition broadly, materially and immaterially.
Narrative Biography
Walid Raad is an artist and an Associate Professor of Art in The Cooper Union (New York, USA). Raad’s works include The Atlas Group, a fifteen-year project between 1989 and 2004 about the contemporary history of Lebanon, and the ongoing project titled A History of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art. His books include The Truth Will Be Known When The Last Witness Is Dead, My Neck Is Thinner Than A Hair, and Let’s Be Honest, The Weather Helped.
Raad’s works have been shown at Documenta 11 (Kassel, Germany), The Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy), The Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin, Germany), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), Homeworks (Beirut, Lebanon) and numerous other museums and venues in Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Raad is also the recipient of the Alpert Award in Visual Arts (2007), the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2007), and the Camera Austria Award (2005).
Raad’s works are included in the following collections: The Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, USA), The Guggenheim Museum (New York, USA), The British Museum (London, UK), Tate Modern (London, UK), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), FNAC (Paris, France), National Galerie (Berlin, Germany), Hamburger Kunsthalle (Hamburg, Germany), MMK (Frankfurt, Germany), MOMAC (Vienna, Austria), Museion (Bolzano, Italy), Kunsthaus Zurich (Zurich, Swtzerland), among others. 

 
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