NAILA KETTANEH KUNIGK,
How do you define the start of your career in contemporary arts?
Growing up, I was surrounded by ancient art, opera, theatre and music. After completing my studies at the renowned Institut dʼEtudes Politiques de Paris and following evening classes in art history at the Ecole du Louvre, I founded in 1972, with my husband Stefan Kunigk, Galerie Tanit Munich. From 1980 to 1988 I was also co-editor of Neue Kunst in München, a publication on contemporary art.
How would you define the identity of your gallery?
The identity of the gallery was not really defined at the beginning. It was a trial and error process. However the early programme focused on showing photography and prints by the likes of Man Ray, the Bechers, Muybridge, Fulton, Hockney and more. I then showed artists from the Minimalist, Conceptual and Arte Povera movements: Flavin, Judd, Mangold, Carl André, Ryman, Marden, McCracken, Anselmo, Pistoletto, Gerhard Merz, John M. Armleder, Olivier Mosset and Urs Lüthi. Thomas Demand and Sylvie Fleury joined in the early stage of their careers. The roster of the gallery – that temporarily had additional spaces in Brussels and Cologne – was later extended to include Adrian Schiess, Martin Assig, Julia Mangold and Catharina van Eetvelde.
Could you tell us about your first exhibition in Beirut?
I showed, at the beginning of the 1980s in Beirut, works by David Hockney and Richard Tuttle. It was the middle of the Civil War, in winter.
“TANIT PROVIDES STIMULATING ENCOUNTERS WITH
VISUAL ARTS TO BUILD CULTURAL BRIDGES AND OPEN
Why did you decide to open the new exhibition space in Beirut?
Gallery Tanit Beyrouth was opened with the intention to participate in the cultural and artistic revival of Lebanon. Since its launch, it has encouraged innovation with openness to the diversity of contemporary art, offering new experiences to the public. In the thriving local art scene, Tanit provides stimulating encounters with visual arts to build cultural bridges and open meaningful discussions.
How would you compare the art scene then and now?
At the beginning we really worked for the artists and art itself. Today the art world has become a business mostly about buying and selling shares. We try to avoid being caught in this market scheme and continue to show emerging and mid-career artists, pushing them towards a recognized nternational career. The programme for 2020 includes projects by Youssef Abdelke, Shirin Abu Shaqra, Franck Christen, Fouad Elkoury, Serge Najjar and Cynthia Zaven.
“THE PROGRAMME FOR 2020 INCLUDES
SHIRIN ABU SHAQRA
SERGE NAJJAR AND
A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS, SHOW & TELL #51