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Ghalya Saadawi: to make mountains out of fields, one rewriting of “Beirut’s postwar contemporary art”

March 1, 2017 7:30 pm

Archive, memory, trauma, postwar, post documentary, post orientalist, contemporary art were oft-repeated sets of ideas deployed to talk about visual artists working in Lebanon after the declared end of a long war. Yet the past’s future did not end up where it could have, in today’s present. Ghalya Saadawi returns there momentarily and theorizes some of the tactics, forms, and content that were used to underscore the apparatus at artists’ disposal, in the hope that this counter-writing counteracts narratives that were sometimes descriptive, normative, or problematic, insofar as they were recuperative. Narratives bringing about global turns they were in part implicated in. Yet, remaining positive and selective, Saadawi discusses the devices, anti-ideological, self-aware, determinate, and perhaps not yet “contemporary art”, which were sometimes employed in a bid to battle the things that still need battling. Since what is solid melts into a liquid.