We are proud to have celebrated the 30 year anniversary of Sfeir-Semler, and 10 years of Sfeir-Semler Beirut, with wonderful people from across the world.
Etel Adnan . Haig Aivazian . Mounira Al Solh . Richard Artschwager . Yto Barrada . Robert Barry . Anna Boghiguian . Marcel Broodthaers . Sophie Calle . Elger Esser . Ian Hamilton Finlay . Hans Haacke . Iman Issa . Hiroyuki Masuyama . Rabih Mroué . Timo Nasseri . Anne & Patrick Poirier . Walid Raad . Khalil Rabah . Marwan Rechmaoui . Wael Shawky Christine Streuli . Rayyane Tabet . Akram Zaatari
The show explores the concept of the gallery as such. It addresses the white cube, the means and mechanisms of exhibition making and display, as well as the managing and dealing of the artwork. It looks back at art history and questions the process of thematizing and conceptualizing contemporary art.
We have invited to this exhibition key artists who have worked in the 20th century on this concept of gallery making, as well as the gallery artists, whose practice relate to these topics, have made new works especially for our anniversary.
Marcel Broodthaers’s oeuvre is major in exploring the market value of artworks and examining collecting practices. Hans Haacke’s Manet-PROJEKT ’74 addresses the chain of ownership and dealing of artwork between the galleries, collectors, and institutions. Sophie Calle’s work in the show focuses on stolen paintings and art trafficking. Robert Barry invites the visitor to a closed gallery. Anne & Patrick Poirier have created ideal monuments and cities based on archaeological excavations. Ian Hamilton Finlay quotes classical art as the most refined form of artistic expression. While, Richard Artschwager transforms the wooden art crate into a sculpture. Similarly in Haig Aivazian’s work, the raw material and the plinths become the sculpture. Iman Issa creates models for public monuments. Marwan Rechmaoui’s concrete mural cuts a slice through the urban city of Beirut.
Walid Raad has been researching in the recent years the Islamic department of the Louvre, and questions the understanding and reading of artworks in different socio-geographical contexts. Mounira Al Solh has created a sound piece questioning the legitimacy of an artist painting today. While Khalil Rabah has produced paintings in China to constitute a storage of major Palestinian art events since 1948. Wael Shawky’s ceramic marionettes tell the story of the Crusades from an Arab point of view. Elger Esser has revived the world of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time in the traditional technique of photo engraving, and Hiroyuki Masuyama mounts hundreds of photographs to recreate paintings by William Turner.
Christine Streuli uses elaborate patterns from her extensive textile collection to make 30 cushions marking each year of the gallery. Rayyane Tabet creates a still life with the materials of traditional anniversary tokens, and Anna Boghiguian draws and paints playful illustrations of the actors behind this anniversary. Yto Barrada’s whimsical ice cream cart and cinema settings awaken the child in each viewer. Timo Nasseri maps the astronomical constellation of the Beirut gallery’s inauguration day. While Rabih Mroué, Akram Zaatari, and Etel Adnan have chosen to reflect on commemorating 40 years since the start of the Lebanese Civil War.
Opening reception | Performance by Tarek Atoui and Charbel Haber
April 3rd | Symposium exploring Contemporary Arab Art: 1995-2015, with key speakers from the art world
April 4-8th | Survey of Arabic films screenings, in collaboration with Metropolis Cinema Beirut