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The Beirut Experience

October 13, 2011 - December 19, 2011 11:00 am

lara almarcegui · marc bauer · tony chakar · marcelline delbecq · latifa echakhch · eric hattan · mark lewis · adrien missika · estefania peñafiel loaiza · dan perjovschi

the beirut experience brings together 10 international artists selected for their interest in notions which are essential to the beirut and lebanese context, such as architecture, urban planning, memory, history or cultural identity, as well as their capacity to adapt themselves to the very complex but stimulating lebanese situation.

the subject of the exhibition is precisely beirut and lebanon. every artist produces a new work specifically linked to this context. the title of the show points to the experience of the context, with all the nuances that this word contains. almost all the artists have stayed at least twice in beirut, once in november 2010, and then during the installation period, just before the opening of the show. some went to beirut to work during the summer of 2011. all works are commissioned and produced by attitudes (www.attitudes.ch).

a book will be published after the show in three languages: english, french, and arabic. it will contain an introduction by the curators, documentation of the works, and a long essay by paris-based german art critic and author jens emil sennewald. this book will be ready for the second version of the beirut experience, planned at art center villa bernasconi in geneva / lancy (ch), in april 2012. (www.villabernasconi.ch)

main venue
beirut art center

special venue
the hangar / umam d&r
project by estefania peñafiel loaiza
opening october 11, 2011, 6 pm to 9 pm
showing until december 18, 2011
open from wednesday to sunday, 12 pm to 9 pm haret hreik, near al mahdi mosque
tel +961 (0)1 553 604, www.umam-dr.org

tony chakar, the sky over beirut
guided walks in beirut (2 hours each)
thursday 20.10 and 03.11, 6 pm (ashrafieh area)
saturday 22.10 and 05.11, 11 am (historical city area)

all the artists will be present with new works in the show at beirut art center (bac). there will be a solo presentation of new works by estefania penafiel loaiza at the hangar, umam d&r.

lara almarcegui will publish a guide to ruined buildings in beirut. around 40 buildings from the 20th century, selected for their architectural qualities, will be documented by photos and texts. this guide is part of a series of guides of ruined buildings or wastelands already realized by the artist in different cities, which are presented in the exhibition. the beirut guide will be ready for the second version of the beirut experience, in geneva in april 2012.

marc bauer presents a series of drawings and texts, like fragments of a travel diary, which propose a double portrait of beirut, one physical with well known areas as pigeon rock, and one more psychological with extracts of the video game call of duty, played by several people in beirut, and where fragments of the city appear in their past or imagined state.

tony chakar presents his project the sky over beirut, a series of architectural tours made in two areas of the city, ashrafieh and the historical city area. during these public tours proposed during the exhibition, he will speak about the history, memory, and architectural and the urban evolution of each area. the tours are documented and an interactive website is produced for the show.

marcelline delbecq her video, eden, is focused on the observatory building located in the american university campus in beirut, as well as three photographs, showing roads to observatory buildings located in los angeles and nice, which present surprising similarities.

latifa echakhch presents a new sculpture, a series of poppies realized with the red earth of beirut. this work refers to a charlie brown comic, what have we learned charlie brown?, by charles m. schulz, based on a poem by john mccrae, in flanders fields (1915), in which he tells the legend of the poppies, which used to be white, and then became red with the blood from wars contained in the earth.

eric hattan presents videos as well as an amateur film shot by his father in beirut in the 1960s, in a bus from the same period parked in front of beirut art center. this work is dedicated to his father. he also presents beyroots, a ‘collection’ of used chairs taken from the streets, which appear as a metaphorical portrait of the city.

mark lewis presents his film beirut, shot in the hamra area, between the napoleon hotel and the mayflower hotel. the film presents a stunning glance of the architecture of the area with a panoramic view from the roof of the building. it is also a metaphorical ‘flight’ between two major historical moments, the colonization of america by british migrants, and the conquest of europe by napoleon.

adrien missika presents his film, dome, shot in super 8 on the site of the international fair, built by brazilian architect oscar niemeyer in tripoli, lebanon from 1968 to 1975. due to the civil war, the site was never completed and never opened to the public. the film depicts a narrative confrontation between the building and a protagonist who literally plays and appropriates it.

estefania peñafiel loaiza presents her project no vacancy at beirut art center and at the hangar / umam d&r, created from the archives of the carlton hotel in beirut, which are kept by umam d&r. the video presented at bac was shot in the carlton residency building under construction. at the hangar, she presents a display of pieces (video, drawings, sculptures, photographs).

dan perjovschi has sent original postcards to beirut since the spring 2011 with drawings about beirut, lebanon and the middle east, perceived from where he was staying or travelling. he also proposes a selection of 62 drawings printed on paper and transferred to the wall through carbon paper.

the curators & producers

attitudes
attitudes is an independent art structure based in geneva, switzerland, founded in 1994 and directed by jean-paul felley & olivier kaeser. attitudes conceives, organizes and produces projects in the fields of contemporary art, in geneva, in switzerland and elsewhere. among the projects realized elsewhere are, buenos dias buenos aires at mamba, buenos aires in 2003, andbuenos dias santiago– an exhibition as expedition at mac santiago de chile in 2005. attitudes has worked with about 400 artists, and organised about 250 exhibitions and 250 other special events such as performances, films screenings or lectures. attitudes had an exhibition space in geneva up to the end of 2008. attitudes is now working on two axes: publishing editions of books, mainly artist’s books, and the curating of exhibitions in various places. attitudes has the status of a not-for-profit cultural association. www.attitudes.ch

jean-paul felley & olivier kaeser are also co-directors of centre culturel suisse (swiss cultural center) in paris, their main activity from the end of 2008.

With the support of:

pro helvetia – swiss foundation for culture swiss exhibition award 2008:given to attitudes by julius bär foundation and swiss federal office for culture fonds cantonal d’art contemporain, etat de geneve (contemporary art fund, state of geneva) mondriaan foundation l’institut français (french institute) french embassy in lebanon swiss embassy in lebanon stanley thomas johnson foundation georges foundation.