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"Threshold," the first Beirut solo of Sidon-born artist and designer Hatem Imam, is comprised completely of monochrome works, all devised explicitly for this exhibition. Curated by Amanda Abi Khalil and hosted by Letitia gallery, the show is preoccupied by landscapes -- some more or less plausible reproductions of place, others veering toward abstraction.Some could be read as conventional landscapes. Imam's works are monotypes on paper and zinc plates the medium that's engraved and painted to make monotypes.For perhaps a decade Imam's been exploring printmaking as a medium for works critical of Beirut's Wild West real-estate market. "Vicarious Dreams," 2010-11, his series of etched landscapes derived from photos of Beirut construction sites, was shown at Sharjah Biennial 10 .This exhibition marks the latest in Imam's creative collaborations.The work's subject matter and form stand in a self-conscious relationship to how the series is deployed within Letitia's single hall and, thanks to the exhibition guide, critical discussions of landscape art from last century.Gazing at Imam's zinc and paper works at once redolent of rural landscape and abstraction -- hanging, still, against the daily theater and shifting decor of Hamra Street, you may wonder what's become of landscape art here.
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