‘Danse Macabre From Urban Perils to Raving Revelry’ by Abed Al Kadiri at the Mina Image Centre

‘Danse Macabre – From Urban Perils to Raving Revelry,’ is an immersive exhibition by Abed Al Kadiri in which he showcases his latest creations spanning from 2020 to 2023. Hosted at Mina Image Centre from February 8th until March 21st, 2024, this event, curated as part of the Beirut Museum of Art’s initiatives (BeMA), promises a multifaceted experience, featuring interventions, a dance performance, a panel discussion, and workshops.
Abed Al Kadiri, Danse Macabre 3, Part of the Danse Macabre Series 2024, Screen Print on Paper, Edition of 20 + 5AP, 66.5 x 47 cm

The exhibition explores the intricate nexus of dance, trauma, and belonging within contemporary Lebanon, reframing these elements not as stark contradictions to the nation’s political upheavals and haunting legacies of conflict but as intrinsic responses, embodying acts of resilience and healing amidst societal collapse. Drawing inspiration from the medieval Danse Macabre tradition, where Death orchestrates grim celebrations with both living and deceased dancers, Al Kadiri’s artwork metaphorically depicts the euphoric realm of dance’s detachment from reality, intricately woven with the trauma of Beirut’s urban landscape.

Abed Al Kadiri, The Egg, Part of the Danse Macabre Series 2022, Charcoal, Pencil and Oil on Canvas, 200 x 145 cm

Through a multimedia presentation comprising six large canvases, a video animation, and two performances, Al Kadiri delves into the underground scene as a sanctuary and expression of collective trauma and loss. Bridging his personal journey between Beirut and Paris, ‘Danse Macabre’ offers a nuanced exploration of emotional and psychological states, ranging from despair to solidarity, reflecting Lebanon’s recent history of socio-political paralysis amid compounded crises.

The project’s realisation involves artistic collaboration, including Victor van Wetten and Jad Atoui for an animated video and sound installation, as well as a dance performance featuring Lebanese contemporary dancer Jimmy Bechara. A publication, featuring a dialogue between Abed Al Kadiri and Marc Mouarkech alongside contributions from various experts, will accompany the exhibition, offering further insights into its themes.

Additionally, a rave performance in collaboration with Frequent Defect is slated for a later announcement, inviting the public to engage in dance and co-creation alongside the artist, further enriching the exhibition’s immersive experience.

Danse Macabre in progress, Abed Al Kadiri’s Studio, Lebanon, 2023

About Abed El Kadiri

Beirut-born Abed Al Kadiri, an artist, publisher, and curator, holds degrees in Arabic Literature and Fine Arts. His work delves into translating violence, exploring personal and collective trauma, and highlighting cultural heritage destruction, migration, and belonging. Recent solo exhibitions include “October 17, 2019: Diaries of the Lebanese Revolution” at Cromwell Place, London (2021) and “Today, I Would Like to be a Tree” at Galerie Tanit, Beirut (2020). Al Kadiri’s pieces feature in private and public collections globally, including The British Museum and Institut du Monde Arabe. He received the Sursock Museum’s Jury Award in 2017. Besides art, he served as Director of Contemporary Art Platform Kuwait (2012-2015) and co-founded Dongola Limited Editions, a pioneering publishing house spotlighting Arab world artists. Al Kadiri divides his time between Paris and Beirut.

Location: Mina Image Centre, Beirut

Dates: February 8 – March 21, 2024

Caption featured image: Abed Al Kadiri, The Parliament, Part of the Danse Macabre Series 2022-2023, Charcoal, Pencil and Oil on Canvas 160 x 200 cm

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