Bassam Ramlawi - From waiting blue to lingering yellow (or vice versa), 2010

I made the layers transparent, as if you were holding a candy wrapper before your eyes” -René Daniels

This series is a selection of 44 sketches that the painter Bassam Ramlawi supposedly made during a period of three months each time
he had to wait for something or someone during his day. On each sketch he noted why he had waited and for how long.

Bassam thought that the act of waiting for others, or waiting for something, is in fact a good exercise against individualism, and the exaggerated
rush of modernity. Although after he did these sketches, he might have changed his mind.

 

 

 

A Double Burger and Two Metamorphoses: a proposal for a potential Cat, a potential Dog, a potential Donkey, a potential Goat, and finally a potential Camel, 2010-ongoing

In this video, I try to discuss some books that I couldn’t read with each animal respectively. It seems that Lyotard and Rousseau get ironically confused, and Taussig and Multatulli are quoted and even plagiarised in some parts.

This recorded conversation or play between myself and each of the animal is about intensive emotional expectations one sometimes has towards others, and about some specific political matters which will never be mentioned directly.

I use make-up, hand-made sets and changes in my clothes, physiognomy and posture to look like these animals. But as soon as I start talking, I simply use a sheet of paper and two toothbrushes as a mask to hide half of my face and my lips while I talk.

The work resembles a staged play of the absurd.


 

 

 

Untitled, Bassam Ramlawi Paintings
Here are some works by Bassam Ramalwi.

I am not sure yet whether I should say that Bassam Ramlawi is a persona whom I created in order not to be myself, or whether I should keep this not so clear. Not so clear to whom? To you, the person who is reading this? Or to myself? Or perhaps to Bassam Ramlawi?


 

 

 

 

 

 

MOUNIRA AL SOLH: Exhibition No. 17

BEIRUT - Sfeir-Semler Gallery is delighted to present the first one-person exhibition of Mounira Al Solh with the gallery. The exhibition will open on November 25, 2010 with a reception for the artist.

Exhibition No. 17 will present a constellation of three separate but interrelated chapters in Mounira Al Solh’s playfully conceptual art practice. In her singular sensibility, the artist will show a collection of paintings and drawings by her fictional character Bassam Ramlawi (with an attendant documentary film on him); a film titled A Double Burger and Two Metamorphoses: a proposal for a potential Cat, a potential Dog, a potential Donkey, a potential Goat, and finally a potential Camel; and a video installation of 19 Arabic Proverbs. Morphing between characters, speaking as herself and as others, Al Solh uses these three very different works to probe at the kind of language (both visual and verbal) that we inherit, invent, appropriate and impersonate, with a wild range of meanings and effects. Reaching into her own points of reference, the artist confront art history, personal history, and a kind of mythical or proverbial history, scratching at the subtle traces of political residue within these histories.

I am not sure yet whether I should say that Bassam Ramlawi is a persona whom I created in order not to be myself, or whether I should keep this not so clear. Not so clear to whom? To you, the person who is reading this? Or to myself? Or perhaps to Bassam Ramlawi?

As the son of a juice vendor living in the Basta neighborhood of Beirut, Bassam Ramlawi spent his life making artworks that investigate artist from 20th Century art history (namely the Dutch artist René Daniëls, the German Otto Dix, and the American Cindy Sherman) as well as characters from his local neighborhood (the barber, the butcher, the candy shop-keeper, among others). Al Solh reveals the observations of this Bassam Ramlawi in a suite of 44 sketches on paper and colored vellum that he made every time he had to wait for something or for someone during his day. Portraits of neighborhood characters on canvas and a selection of paintings he made inspired by his encounters with contemporary art will be on view alongside a documentary on Ramlawi (expertly played by Al Solh).

In her film “A Double Burger and Two Metamorphoses: a proposal for a potential Cat, a potential Dog, a potential Donkey, a potential Goat, and finally a potential Camel” (2010-ongoing), she present staged conversations between herself and 5 animals, asking each of them to discuss various authors (the French philosopher Rousseau, the French cultural theorist Lyotard, the American anthropologist Taussig and Dutch writer Multatulli) and pleading with them for various intimate requests which all get denied. Al Solh writes:

In this video, I try to discuss some books that I couldn’t read with each animal respectively… This recorded conversation or play between myself and each of the animal is about intensive emotional expectations one sometimes has towards others, and about some specific political matters which will never be mentioned directly. I use make-up, hand-made sets and changes in my clothes, physiognomy and posture to look like these animals. But as soon as I start talking, I simply use a sheet of paper and two toothbrushes as a mask to hide half of my face and my lips while I talk. The work resembles a staged play of the absurd.
Mounira Al Solh (born Beirut, 1978) studied fine art at the Lebanese University, Beirut before continuing her studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (2003-2006). She was an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam from 2007-2008, and in Munich at the Sudhausbau and PIN in 2010. Exhibitions include ‘Future of Tradition – Tradition of Future’, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2010); ‘Be(com)ing Dutch’, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven (2008); ‘Let’s Not Swim Then!’ Montevideo, Temporary Museum, Amsterdam; HomeWorks IV, A Forum on Cultural Practices, Beirut, Lebanon (2008); ‘As If I Don’t Fit There’ Lebanese Pavilion, 52nd Venice Biennial (2007); ‘2732 KM from Beirut’, Hebbel Theater, Berlin (2007); among others.