Selection being something we specialise in here at Selections, we like to ask those who are best-placed to make choices on our behalf. In this special feature, we ask gallerists at the Beirut Art Fair 2018 to choose a single artwork from their booths and share the story behind it.
BEIRUT ART FAIR
Aida Cherfan Fine Art
Bahram Hajou, Landscape, 2017, MM on canvas
200 x 160 cm.
In this landscape, Bahram Hajou reduces nature to its simplest expression. The texture of the canvas, stone colour and slightly shiny, plays a tremendous role in Bahram’s artwork: spaces are purposely left empty in order to enhance the combination of charcoal and paint, putting forward the powerful outline of his drawing. In this landscape the choice of colours, bright and extremely unusual, stand out against a whitewashed background: black pine trees; bright yellow soil and two patches of blue: a sky and a pond.
The perfect balance between fullness and emptiness.
« Blindspot », 2018, Ieva Saudargaite & Atelier Relief, Inkjet, print on paper mounted on Diasec & acrylic glass, 120 x 180 x 8 cm. Unique piece.
Atelier Relief is a space based in Brussels dedicated to the design and production of « reliefs », sculpted variations of an image. In collaboration with photographers we give images a new, sculptural, architectural dimension.
In İeva Saudargaite, we have found the perfect artist to collaborate with. Not only is she an exceptionally talented, sensible artist but she also has a strong background in architecture.
« Blindspot », the Relief we are presenting is İeva’s imaginary Beirut. There is no more East, no more West, there is one total, inclusive, all-encompassing city. The material we used, acrylic glass, placed at various spots on the image increases the idea that borders are, finally, imaginary, and essentially totally transparent.
Waseem Ahmed (Pakistani, 1976), Untitled 2018, Pigment color, silver leaf on archival wasli paper, 104 x 182.5 cm.
Born in a family who had migrated from India to Pakistan during partition in 1947, Waseem Ahmed is a key player on the scene of contemporary miniature painting. Ahmed’s works tackle social and political issues faced by the Islamic world. Untitled, 2018, was created as part of a project by Waseem Ahmed and Israeli artist Yifat Bezalel entitled Homeland. Through a long distance dialogue, the two artistes shared their own stories. He is Muslim, she is Jewish; both pose, directly or through metaphors and referrals, a critical and distressing look on their own country plagued by violence and profound contrasts. Underground or suggested maps and cities, inaccessible lands, sad angels guardians of half-timbered temples and towns, wandering characters in desolate landscapes recalling the great migratory flows of refugees became the subjects of these works as a result of a deep, free and independent thought.
Tami Ichino (Japanese, 1978), Vue vers le haut (Erable II) 2016 , Acrylic on canvas, 110 x 80 cm.
The work of Tami Ichino designates with lightness elements of an invisible reality and brings us back, through the exercise of metaphor, to her personal semantic universe, often deeply marked by her Japanese origins. Whether it is incongruous and decontextualized objects, climbing plants or roots, her work inhabited by a surreal atmosphere invites us to look up, creating a back and forth and tilting the point of view. Beyond the apparent simplicity of her compositions and the minimalism in the choice of primary colors, the artist manages to sublimate her object and reveals its poetic and metaphorical character through a resolutely sophisticated technique.
Saleh Barakat Gallery
Anachar Basbous, Untitled, 2018, concrete, 52 x 52x 52 cm.
We have selected this artwork, untitled, by Anachar Basbous as one paradigmatic example of an artist who engages with a modernist legacy of sculpture, while asserting his own singular aesthetics. As the son of the great artist Michel Basbous, Anachar was faced with the challenge of working after his unsurpassable father, and yet, after 25 years of formal experimentation, he has discovered his own path, and one whose interests are relevant to his contemporary reality. This sculpture is part of a body of work to be exhibited in his upcoming retrospective at Saleh Barakat Gallery in November, 2018.
Fouad Agbaria, Weaving and Cracks #21, Oil on canvas, 100 x 62 cm, 2018.
Zawyeh Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Fouad Agbaria (b.1982). His paintings of rugs replete with architectural and ornamental elements, such as those that were laid atop the floor of his parents’ home. These works echo childhood memories in the sense of nostalgia for home. Both the rug, an implement in the Muslim religious rite that is thought to play a quintessentially spiritual role, and the arabesque metaphor, expressing the wondrous and complex structure of the world and its harmonic perfection, are used by Agbaria in his account of the inanimate place where he lives.
The lovely colorful rug paintings tempt viewers to approach and observe the painted details. Concurrently, however, they raise viewers’ flesh by transporting them from one memory of time and place to a different memory of a different time and place. On one rug appears a bulldozer shovel, an instrument of destruction; on another we see an airplane with a swift red flourish of the brush; and at the bottom of yet another rug a warship materializes.
In these works, Agbaria creates a threatening inner domestic space that corresponds to Freud’s concept of desire or “a concept without a home.” In his conceptualization of desires, a paradoxical situation arises: the strange and the delusional, the dangerous and the cruel, are the opposites of the comfort and familiarity of home. In this dialectical encounter, the beautiful meets the threatening, and when the strange emerges from the domestic setting it is frightening. The separation of subject and object is disrupted when the representation of freedom and liberation (the drawing and movement of the brush) encounters its opposite (the wall, the border), which stops its forward motion.
Twelve Gates Arts
Hiba Schahbaz, The Guard, 2014, Tea, gold leaf, collage, gouache and water colour on wasli, 45 x 35 in.
When I first saw this particular work, The Guard, it was a sketch, figures were outlined, some color and some gold here and there. At that stage too it took my breath away with its scale. I was at Hiba’s studio picking up work for her solo exhibition titled American Beauty at 12Gates. In a way this painting tied in many of her prior and current smaller works with solo figures, and extended the American Beauty series into a global Empires Series. Historical veracity, empowerment, a feminist painting, just a few first thoughts.
-Aisha Khan (12G)
Myriam Bouagal Galerie
Alizé Le Maoult, Bal masqué, 1/10 + 2 EA, Tirage argentique, Papier super brillant Fujiflex, 70 x 100 cm.
Natural or electrical light,
Bodies get on the move.
Beauty shows up without any warning out of the night.
In the city.
Night is a promise,
The one of an unknown journey.
Interior or exterior night.
A sensorial nighttime ride,
A journey at dead of night and up to the night end…
~Alizé Le Maoult
Alizé Le Maoult is a filmmaker and a photographer, she has started very young in front of the camera, and then has worked with film directors from around the world. The shooting of « Perfect circle » directed by Ademir Kenovic drove her to Sarajevo into the war in 1995. This experience has left its mark on her forever, and will inspire her, after her first exhibition « Reconcilation » in 2011, the serie of portraits of war photographers « Through their eyes… ». This work has been exhibited under various forms : in june 2014 for the international commemorations for the Centenial of the First World War in Sarajevo, then in the First World War Museum in 2016 and at the Verdun Memorial in 2017. Human beings, cities, nature are her exploration playgrounds with no border. From portrait to abstract, through reportage, her series have been exhibited in France and abroad in institutions or museums, and galleries.
Wensen Qi, Repetition I, July 2018, bodiless lacquer technic, chinese lacquer (urushi), ramie fabric, gold leaves mounted on cotton strap, 158 x 240 cm (polyptych – 50 pieces)
Wensen Qi is a French artist living in China and using the Chinese lacquer as medium , he is very active on the Asian stage but has never been exhibit in the middle east. I think it will be interesting for the Lebanese public to appreciate his exquisite lacquer work creations. Wensen Qi Produced this art work especially for the BAF he spend 4 months to produce this 50 tablets of bodiless lacquer technique his inspiration came from a Burmese traditional way to produce the sacred
Buddhist book with lacquer the kamavanca, an art work as a mantra made from 50 tablets all similar yet differents.
Christopher Rizkallah, Virtual Face, Generated Contract, 2018
Ink on paper, 94 x 71 cm.
Christopher Rizkallah’s Virtual Face, Generated Contract speaks of a partnership between an artist and a computer, coming together within his frame. His effects captured by a camera, processed by a computer and replicated on paper depict a dialogue between intelligences. Generating a contemporary portrait, Rizkallah demonstrates the influence of technology on current art practice. The work is a take on post internet art in an era where reliance on artificial intelligence is increasing. Using the relationship between today’s artist and the inevitable impact of technology on their practice, we take a closer look at how they converge.
Basir Mahmood, All Divided Equally, 2018. Inkjet on photo rag, 150 x 100 cm each (diptych). Courtesy of the artist.
All Divided Equally is a new work by Basir Mahmood whose solo exhibition, Eyes Recently Seen (6 September – 3 November), is currently on view at Letitia Gallery. A central work in the exhibition curated by Lauren Wetmore, All Divided Equally deals with the aesthetics of balance and equality in the decisions humans make when dividing food between themselves. The complex diptych depicts a multitude of foods cut precisely in half – even each small peanut. The artist created this work with a sense of hope, asking “Would it be possible to equally divide everything?”
Lamia Joreige, The end of…Beirut, C print mounted on Diasec, 120 x 90 cm.
The series of prints The end of… made in the aftermath of the war of summer 2006, are all «mental images» made of photomontages or single images transformed. I used images from Super 8, video and written notes assembled overyears. They are reminiscences of a history, which has gaps. Here the process of memory, through the recording of traces as well as erasing and diverting, is visible on the physical texture of the images. Though they represent post-wars landscapes and specific places in Lebanon, the non-realistic, poetic imagery of the series The end of… with an emphasis on images vanishing, is a mean to reflect on violence, loss and disillusion. They are not mere beautiful landscapes but carry within them, in an understated way, all the tensions, conflicts and political turmoil I / we experience.
Lefebvre et Fils
JAY KVAPIL, #1294, 2018, Crater Glazed Ceramic, 11.5 x 15 cm,Courtesy of Galerie Lefebvre & Jay Kvapil
Lefebvre & Fils Gallery is pleased to announce its first participation in BEIRUT Art Fair for the fair’s 9th edition. It will present, for the 4th time, new ceramics by the american artist Jay KVAPIL, a well-known artist in the US and in Europ.
Jay Kvapil uses a long and meticulous method called “Crater Glazed”, mixing pure forms and the complexity of several firing, producing a tension sublimated by multicolored enamels. His work is now part of the French National Collection at the National Museum of Ceramic of Sèvres.
It all begins with an opening, a breach, a possibility
Our bodies are fields of flowers
Our arms, our legs, our hair intertwined, what are we?
Insects on the water?
A horde of wolves?
Maybe a bit of everything.
Am I in the arms of a woman, of a man of the earth?
Étienne Cail, Tigers V, oil painting on canvas, 150 x 200 cm, 2018
For our first participation to Beirut Art Fair, French painter Etienne Cail made a series of wild animal and especially Tigers. Since his beginning he is used to mix influences from Fart East and Middle-east after trips he made in China and Morocco. Last summer he visited India and it enhanced his aesthetic and subjects palette. In his black and white paintings there is always delicate shades of blue reminding Asian calligraphy, but here tigers are painted in the orientalist way from the 19th century. With his painting Etienne Cail invite us to travel between continents and time, under the surveillance of those tigers.
Gael Davrinche’s studio, France, 2018, 4 paintings from Nocturne series , © Gael Davrinche and courtesy Mazel Galerie
French artist Gael Davrinche also made 4 paintings from his last flower series « Nocturne » . He plays on aesthetic code of painting, make us believe its hyperrealistic painting inspired from traditional flemish flowers bouquet artistic period. But when you are closer, you notice the brush effects and you can the see the hand of the painter. Davrinche increase this surprise with the black background and reinforce the confusion between what is realistic or solely the interpretation of the painter.
A & V Art Gallery
Zoe Litvinova, Whisper, 1994 Courtesy of A & V Art Gallery
The most remarkable feature in the painting “Whisper” by Zoya Litvinova is the color strength, emotional tension, energy, sonority and decorative effect. At the same time, the color acts as a representative of light and claims to reveal a living soul of light rather than volumes and planes reflecting it. Thereby forms lose substantiality, transform into expressive profound prototypes, certain visible symbols. All that contributes to the transformation of space. In “Whisper” graphical zones penetrate inside due to color characteristics. In this graphical environment we can see fragments of other spaces, a mask, a face, birds. Space dynamics in this artwork gives me an associative feeling of the time. To my mind, in this piece we see all the power of aspiration for life, verity and beauty.
L&B Contemporary Art Gallery
Our sea 2 (Triptych), 2018. Wood, linen, paint and digighraphy. 160 x 50 cm x 3
L&B gallery has the pleasure to present Our Sea, Joan Ill’s latest series.
Like all works of Joan Ill’s latest series called Our Sea, the triptych Our Sea 2 is multi-dimensional – not only in its outward appearance but also
in its meaning. It is the idea of combining austere materials with digigraphies of landscapes common in the whole Mediterranean region
that ofers diferent aesthetic and territorial perspectives. Therefore, the synthesis of landscapes, limits created by paint and seams as well
as the absence of images refect the artist’s personal view on what unites all participants of Beirut Art Fair – the Mediterranean Sea, our sea.
Lebanese Autism Society
A white anemone… because its rare, its beautiful, it breathes and relaxes…
The beautiful anemone represents sensitivity and hope…
The sensitivity and emotion with every brush stroke reflecting the mood of the artist, and his promising talent evolving towards distant but certain horizons.
The white color is a symbol of peace and serenity; purity and positivity.
The white color contains all the colors of the spectrum of light without showing any.
The white is linked to the rainbow that represents light.
While painting, Ali our young talent with autism experiences a deeply felt internal happiness that he joyfully shares with all of us !