Dineo Seshee Bopape « Zürich Art Weekend » | via e-Flux, June 21, 2024
Dineo Seshee Bopape « Zürich Art Weekend » | via e-Flux, June 21, 2024

"A second show at the Migros, Dineo Seshee Raisibe Bopape’s “(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come,” subverts this construction of home by bringing to the museum the very real conditions of Bopape’s native South Africa through clay display structures that echo the front yards in which people congregate, work, and socialize."

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Tarik Kiswanson « Hundert Jahre ohne Worte » | via FAZ, June 12, 2024
Tarik Kiswanson « Hundert Jahre ohne Worte » | via FAZ, June 12, 2024

"Poesie kann auch aus vier Spazierstöcken bestehen: Der Duchamp-Preisträger Tarik Kiswanson stellt im Frankfurter Portikus aus."

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Wael Shawky « The Best Booths at Art Basel, From a Revisionist ‘Origine du Monde’ to Jellyfish-Like Creatures » | via artnews, June 12, 2024
Wael Shawky « The Best Booths at Art Basel, From a Revisionist ‘Origine du Monde’ to Jellyfish-Like Creatures » | via artnews, June 12, 2024

"But this booth’s true stars were ceramic versions of grotesque masks that Wael Shawky has featured in his films, which have dealt with topics ranging from the Crusader invasions of Egypt in the 12th century to the country’s nationalist Urabi revolution against imperial influence during the 19th century..."

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Marwan Rechmaoui « Marwan Rechmaoui’s “Chasing the Sun” » | via e-flux, May 29, 2024
Marwan Rechmaoui « Marwan Rechmaoui’s “Chasing the Sun” » | via e-flux, May 29, 2024

"Marwan Rechmaoui’s latest body of work includes paintings of popsicles and bags of pink cotton candy. There are poppies, fluffy clouds, a pretty sun, and a full moon. The perfectly green crowns of seven parasol pine trees fill one robust frame while the bushy derrieres of three sheep fill another. Among the objects scattered throughout “Chasing the Sun,” on view in the Sfeir-Semler Gallery’s newish project space located in Downtown Beirut near the mouth of the port, are streamers, a kite, marbles, the outlines of a hopscotch game, and boards for checkers and tic-tac-toe. Knowing the artist’s previous work, one could be forgiven for thinking he’d lost the plot here, or at least wandered off toward divertissement. And yet the toys and games of the current show clarify the importance of play and playfulness in Rechmaoui’s larger project..."

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Wael Shawky « Here Are 7 Standout Pavilions at the 2024 Venice Biennale, From a Quirky Sculptural Orchestra to a Luscious ‘Creole Garden’ » | via artnet, April 18, 2024
Wael Shawky « Here Are 7 Standout Pavilions at the 2024 Venice Biennale, From a Quirky Sculptural Orchestra to a Luscious ‘Creole Garden’ » | via artnet, April 18, 2024

"Wael Shawky has brought a bold musical film to the Egyptian Pavilion. In Drama 1882, the Alexandria-born artist creates a parable confronting history’s grip on the present.
Set against the backdrop of occupation in Egypt, the film delves into the nationalist fervor of the 1879–82 Urabi Revolution. The violent peasant uprising against the Egyptian monarch’s susceptibility to imperial influence eventually backfired and became a catalyst for British rule, which lasted until 1956."

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Mounira Al Solh « The 10 Best National Pavilions at the 2024 Venice Biennale » | via ARTnews, April 18, 2024
Mounira Al Solh « The 10 Best National Pavilions at the 2024 Venice Biennale » | via ARTnews, April 18, 2024

"Depending on who you ask, the Phoenician princess Europa was either wooed or assaulted by the Greek god Zeus, who became her lover after disguising himself as a bull. Lebanon’s representative, Monira Al Solh, seems to view Europa’s seduction as nonconsensual. Take one painting in Al Solh’s expansive installation A Dance with Her Myth (2024) showing a bound-up figure of ambiguous gender identity beside a bull on its back. Whatever is happening here, it isn’t pleasant. But Al Solh, keen to complicate the mythology surrounding Europa, never portrays this princess as a victim."

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Mounira Al Solh « The 10 Best National Pavilions at the 60th Venice Biennale » | via Artsy, April 18, 2024
Mounira Al Solh « The 10 Best National Pavilions at the 60th Venice Biennale » | via Artsy, April 18, 2024

"Through an impressive range of 41 pieces, including sculptures, drawings, paintings, embroidery, and video, Al Solh focuses on the ancient Phoenician character of Europa and rewrites her narrative of domination by reimagining her as a powerful protagonist. Painted canvases hanging from the ceiling depict Europa engaging with her abductor, the bull (Zeus). In the paintings, Europa is pregnant with the bull standing at her side, connected to the bull with an umbilical cord, or even morphing into the bull herself."

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Mounira Al Solh « Myths, history and trauma haunt Lebanon’s pavilion » | via Financial Times, April 13, 2024
Mounira Al Solh « Myths, history and trauma haunt Lebanon’s pavilion » | via Financial Times, April 13, 2024

‘The woman lies on her back, feet in the air. She lazily spins an urn, balanced on her hands, containing a bull’s head. During the 12-minute film in which the bull-twirling goddess appears, a haphazard narrative emerges out of images — many of them animated drawings which boast a frail, enchanting quirkiness — that include lapping waves, dancers in antique robes and onions which weep purple ink. Lines from a poem flash intermittently: “I looked for a magnificent white bull . . . but all I found was a goat.” “I looked for Europa passively carried . . . she held him in a jar.”‘

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Mounira Al Solh « Mounira Al Solh: A Dance with her Myth » | via e-flux, April 11, 2024
Mounira Al Solh « Mounira Al Solh: A Dance with her Myth » | via e-flux, April 11, 2024

"The Pavilion of Lebanon will present A Dance with her Myth, an exhibition by Mounira Al Solh and curated by Nada Ghandour, for the 60th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Situated in the Arsenale, Mounira Al Solh’s 180m2 multimedia installation, composed of 41 pieces—drawings, paintings, sculptures, embroideries, and video— creates a bridge between myth and reality, revisiting the rapt of Europa to offer a new perspective on the aspirations and challenges faced by women today. On canvas, paper and screen, the artist’s creative process combines allegorical narrative with a documentary approach, appropriation with diversion, and gives realistic, poetic, and very contemporary representations."

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Wael Shawky « ‘I’m so proud of this film:’ Wael Shawky unveils his Venice Biennale project » | via Art Basel, April 9, 2024
Wael Shawky « ‘I’m so proud of this film:’ Wael Shawky unveils his Venice Biennale project » | via Art Basel, April 9, 2024

"It is said that when Pandora’s box was opened, Zeus looked to earth from his abode on Mount Olympus and saw wars, bloodshed, carnage, and unrest. Horrified, the king of the ancient Greek gods flew into a fit of rage and vowed to destroy humanity for its corruption. And so, he commanded a deluge. ‘When mankind got to that level of power-worship and dictatorship, Zeus created the flood to erase it,’ says Egyptian artist Wael Shawky when describing his film, I Am the Hymns of the New Temple (2023)."

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Rayyane Tabet « What’s a Museum For? » | via ArtReview, April 10, 2024
Rayyane Tabet « What’s a Museum For? » | via ArtReview, April 10, 2024

"What’s a museum for? It’s a question that’s been exercising art’s collecting institutions increasingly in recent years, as they try to respond to criticisms coming from all angles of their supposed power and privilege. A Model, a three-stage project mounted by Mudam’s recently appointed director Bettina Steinbrügge, opened with Rayyane Tabet’s standalone installation ‘prelude’ late last year, a work now joined by this second, whole-museum exhibition, which mixes selections from the museum’s collection with other works, all of which variously highlight the implicit parameters of the museum – what can and can’t be here, and why. It will be joined by a third exhibition, Epilogue by Jason Dodge, in April."

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BLIND DATE 2.0 « Blind Date at Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut » | via Selections Magazine, March 25, 2024
BLIND DATE 2.0 « Blind Date at Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut » | via Selections Magazine, March 25, 2024

"Running from March 13 until July 27, 2024, Sfeir Semler Gallery presents the second edition of ‘The Blind Date’ a concept which debuted in 2017. The show features a group exhibition with artists from outside of the gallery’s roster. Coincidentally, the five invited artists are all young female artists with diverse practices and expressions, all connected to the Arab-speaking world."

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Marwan Rechmaoui « Chasing the Sun by Marwan Rechmaoui at Sfeir-Semler Downtown, Beirut » | via Selections Magazine, March 19, 2024
Marwan Rechmaoui « Chasing the Sun by Marwan Rechmaoui at Sfeir-Semler Downtown, Beirut » | via Selections Magazine, March 19, 2024

"Sfeir Semler Gallery Beirut presents Marwan Rechmaoui’s latest solo show, ‘Chasing the Sun’ at Downtown, Beirut from March 13 until July 20, 2024Marwan Rechmaoui, known for his conceptual sculptures in concrete, metal, rubber, and wax, delves into an exploration of urban socio-geographies through the lens of play. Reflecting on childhood memories in Beirut, Rechmaoui revisits his youth through playful installations, including marbles, kites, and hopscotch outlines, drawing from sketches made in the 1990s. These recreations are juxtaposed with wax representations of nature, highlighting the transformative power of childhood experiences."

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Rayyane Tabet « The Deep Blue: Rayyane Tabet at Mudam » | via canvas, March 27, 2024
Rayyane Tabet « The Deep Blue: Rayyane Tabet at Mudam » | via canvas, March 27, 2024

"With every act of violence, a ripple of impacts travels far beyond the epicentre. These repercussions often go undocumented, remaining invisible to outside observers, but can leave a legacy that lingers far beyond the singular initial trauma and one which might even carry positive or poetic qualities.
When on 4 August 2020 a warehouse of ammonium nitrate stored in the Port of Beirut exploded, resulting in 218 deaths and 7000 injuries, the shockwaves spread for miles across the city, damaging buildings and smashing windows on the way. Environmental engineer and political activist Ziad Abichaker began collecting this glass from buildings all over Beirut, sending it to glassblowers in the north of Lebanon who were struggling to source raw materials thanks to continual currency devaluations. They transformed the glass from the explosion debris into traditional glass water pitchers, transforming a violent act into a simple gesture of solidarity that can help new resonances emerge."

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Wael Shawky « The Strata of Life: Wael Shawky at Sfeir-Semler Gallery » | via canvas, February 13, 2024
Wael Shawky « The Strata of Life: Wael Shawky at Sfeir-Semler Gallery » | via canvas, February 13, 2024

"Ancient civilisations, myths and the transformative nature of stories are themes that Egyptian artist Wael Shawky – who will this year represent Egypt at the Venice Biennale – has explored in different facets throughout his practice, drawing links between our contemporary culture and historical traditions.  His latest solo exhibition I am Hymns of the New Temples, premiering in the MENA region at Beirut’s Sfeir-Semler Gallery, combines his signature research-led and multimedia approach in the presentation of a project rooted in cosmology across different bygone pantheons.
Inspired by ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology, the exhibition is anchored by an hour-long film – from which the show derives its title – that Shawky first produced for the Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters programme, the contemporary art initiative organised by the Pompeii Archaeological Park (PAP). He won the tender PAC-Plan for Contemporary Art in 2020, supported by the Italian Ministry of Culture and the PAP, and first screened the film in Pompeii in 2023."

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