For the opening on September 22nd at 4.30 at the Citadel of Tripoli and 6.30 at the Rashid Karami International Fair in Tripoli.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Through contemporary art, the run-down concrete structures of the Rashid Karami Fair in Tripoli conceived by Oscar Niemeyer, considered one of the most important legacies of modernist architecture in the Middle East, were placed in dialogue with the citadel of Tripoli, a monument to layers of history. The two locations current states provoked reflections, in the context of the exhibition, on cyclical time and the cycles of collapse.
The notion of cyclical time, common to past civilizations, is now considered archaic, for according to Romanian intellectual Mircea Eliade, modern societies have a linear understanding of time. This contemporary understanding considers progress as its only possible outcome and therefore does not take into account repeated cycles of collapse.
The contemplation of the cyclical life and death of civilisations can be traced back to the medieval Tunisian-born historian Ibn Khaldoun, who suggested that historical cycles function in a loop, starting as Umran Badaoui (bedouin civilisation) evolving into Umran Hadari (urban civilisation) before collapsing. Recent studies by American historian Joseph Tainter on the collapse of complex societies, such as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Mayans, show that there are several possible causes for their downfall, including natural disasters, wars, and epidemics. But one theory can be singled out. When a society becomes highly stratified, it is more likely to fall, as the cost of maintaining it is high.
In the post-modern world (although the sociologist Bruno Latour has suggested in the title of his book that ‘we have never been modern’) scientists affirm that since the beginning of the anthropocene era, our future decline will be caused by an impending ecological disaster due to global warming. If human beings, nature, and even history function cyclically, it’s possible to think about the limits of progress and the costs that entails.
The exhibition presented 20 projects in total, including 11 commissioned artworks as well as 9 selected works by artists from Lebanon and Mexico. The meeting of these two art scenes allowed for the exchange of geographical perspectives on the theme. This project included residencies in Beirut by Edgardo Aragon, Fritzia Irizar and Gabriel Rico at BAR-Beirut Art Residency, and in Guadalajara by Marwan Rechmaoui and Stephanie Saadé at PAOS GDL residency.
List of participating artists :
Rashid Karami International Fair:
Edgardo Aragon, Ali Cherri, Jose Davila, Lamia Joreige, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Fritzia Irizar, Jorge Mendez Blake, Damian Ortega, Marwan Rechmaoui, Gabriel Rico, Stéphanie Saadé, Roy Samaha, Jalal Toufic, Zad Moultaka
Cycles of Collapsing Progress
co-organized by Studiocur/art in collaboration with Beirut Museum of Art- BeMA & Anissa Touati Corporation for Mexico.
Rashid Karami Fair by Oscar Niemeyer:
Jose Davila, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Lamia Joreige, Fritzia Irizar, Jorge Mendez Blake, Damian Ortega, Marwan Rechmaoui, Gabriel Rico, Stéphanie Saadé, Roy Samaha, Jalal Toufic, Zad Moultaka
ABOUT BEIRUT MUSEUM OF ART- BEMA:
One of the most significant developments for Lebanese art and culture in a generation, BeMA: Beirut Museum of Art is a new museum set to launch in Beirut in 2023. Envisioned as a cultural hub highlighting modern and contemporary art from Lebanon and from the region, BeMA will encourage Lebanese artistic creation, while fostering dialogue and cross-cultural collaborations in the region and globally. In addition to housing an extensive collection of modern and contemporary works, the museum will also create opportunities for the production of new works through artist residencies, commissions and cultural partnerships. An independent institution, BeMA will be a site for discourse, creativity, academic research and public education, committed to engage with diverse communities and host cultural and educational programs in the service of building a committed civil society.
In the lead up to opening its doors, BeMA is already engaging audiences through a series of evolving programs, including a decade-long artist-in-residency program for the Lebanese public school system in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the launch of new artist-in-residence program, a series of commissioned artist interventions, and a collaboration with community arts organizations across Lebanon.
Studiocur/art is a non-profit curatorial platform specialised in contemporary art and registered in Paris. Created by Franco-Lebanese curator, Karina El Helou in 2015, the platform produces exhibitions to create unique interactions between the artist and the public. The platform is not defined by geographical or cultural adherence, its mission is to combine artists’ work with a school of critical thinkers, talented producers, architects and scenographers around the world. The platform has been developing the practice of bringing contemporary art to heritage buildings, moving away from the confines of today’s white cube. The studio has also collaborated with institutions, museums, other non-profit platforms, curators, artists and residencies, in both the public and private domains.
ABOUT Karina el Helou:
Karina El Helou has an MA in Art History from Sorbonne University, Paris, and a MA in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art (London). She attended l’Ecole du Louvre as well as Met Penninghen art school and l’Ecole d’art de Rueil-Malmaison. Previously, she worked as an art collection manager at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and a teaching assistant at Sotheby’s Institute of Art (London). She founded the non-profit curatorial platform Studiocur/art in 2015 (Paris) collaborating with museums, institutions, artists and curators.
She has curated several exhibitions internationally, including “The Silent Echo” group show at the Archaeological site Museum of Baalbek.
ABOUT Anissa Touati Corporation:
Anissa Touati is an independent curator, exhibition maker and Chalet Society co-director based between Mexico and France. Touati recently curated Jesper Just solo show at Anahuacalli Museum (Mexico),
“Made by for Hands” for OMR gallery (Mexico) and co-organized “¿Cómo te voy a olvidar?” at Galerie Perrotin (Paris). She is developing research programs for Broad Art Museum (Michigan) and CIACEF foundation (Istanbul).
September 24, 6.30pm – 4 day screening in a loop for Jalal Toufic’s The Matrix for AI, 2018 at Metropolis in Partnership with Empire.
September 27, 7.00-9.00pm – Conference by Bernard Khoury and Fares El Dahdah: Oscar Niemeyer a Modern Legacy in Danger at Sursock Museum, Auditorium, Level -2.
September 29, 6.00-7.00pm – Dardashat Session with an artist in Collaboration with Ruwwad NGO at Rashid Karami International Fair.
October 6, 6.00-7.00pm – Dardashat Session with an artist in Collaboration with Ruwwad NGO at Rashid Karami International Fair.
October 10, 6.00-9.00pm – Conference by Juan Palomar, head of Barragan Foundation: Luis Barragan & Beyond at AZM University, Tripoli
October 13, 6.00-7.00pm – Dardashat Session with an artist in Collaboration with Ruwwad NGO at Rashid Karami International Fair.
October 20, 6.00-7.00pm – Dardashat Session with an artist in Collaboration with Ruwwad NGO at Rashid Karami International Fair.
Scenography of the Exhibition Hall & Dome, and Production of the Exhibition by Antoine Maalouf Architects
Antoine Maalouf Architects is a Beirut-based experiential design studio that tackles every aspect of space intervention.
The task of the practice merges functionality, design, and environmental sustainability to create comfortable and memorable architectures.
Antoine Maalouf Architects has been involved in projects such as:
“Salon Beyrouth” – Lebanon, “The Saudi Press Agency’s auditorium – KSA, “cooking Liberty” UAE, and “The Silent Echo” – Lebanon.