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Archaeology used to seem a simple thing.Archaeology's association with the imperial enterprises of certain states came to be recognized as an ideological bulwark for foreign domination."The Silent Echo" is an exhibition of work by nine Lebanese and international contemporary artists, staged in Baalbeck's Roman-era ruins. Curator Karina El Helou (the Lebanese-born founder of the mobile exhibition platform STUDIOCUR/ART) conceived the show as a dialogue between contemporary art and archaeology and all but two works are set within the precincts of Baalbeck's archaeological museum.Among these is the lone new work in the show, Paola Yacoub's "Risk," 2016 . As bereft of humans as an art work can be, this attractive piece – silent but for a score evocative of a distant, Wednesday afternoon church organ – has an elegiac, even funereal, aesthetic.Guarding the far end of the museum stage of the show, "La Grande Galerie," 2004, samples Danica Dakic's series of family portraits of undocumented migrants.The original piece emulates certain 18th- and 19th-century studies of ancient ruins in the Middle East, depictions that tended to emphasize the scale and glory of the architecture at the expense of the tribal peoples lounging indolently around them.
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