BEIRUT: With the fourth edition of the Beirut Art Fair due to open at BIEL on Sept. 19, organizers have announced the launch of Beirut Art Week. In collaboration with Solidere, the BAF plans to make art more widely accessible to the public by displaying monumental artwork in the streets and shops of Downtown Beirut from Sept. 18 to 24.
Organizers say the art week aims to emphasize Beirut’s historic legacy as a center of culture and crossroad of civilizations, exhibiting in new territories in the hope of attracting a wider public.
Twenty works of art by regional and international artists are scheduled to be exhibited Downtown. Among them pieces by Mona Hatoum, Xavier Veilhan, Matthew Monahan and Philippe Pasqua – on loan from the private collection of Aishti-owner Tony Salame. Regional artists on show include Iraqi sculptor Ahmed al-Bahrani and Egypt’s Ahmed Askalany, while works will also be on show by Syrian artists Mustafa Ali and Houmam Al Sayed.
Naturally work by Lebanese artists will also be exhibited, among them Hussein Madi, Naim Doumit, Aya Haidar, Kameel Hawa, and Nayla Romanos Iliya.
Alongside this selection will be some pieces by South African photographer Vivian Van Blerk, while Momo (a restaurant in the Beirut Souks) will host “Blow Up.” Unfortunately titled, given recent events, this inflatable sculpture was created by Spanish artists’ group Penique Productions.
The international flavor of the Art Week program reflects the wider scope of this year’s Beirut Art Fair, which is set to include Lebanon’s first Asian pavilion, curated by Malaysian gallerist Richard Koh. “Collective Perspectives” will feature the works of 21 artists from nine galleries based in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, working in a range of media including video, photography, painting and sculpture.
Closer to home, Dubai-based Lebanese painter Katya Traboulsi will curate a group exhibition entitled “Generation War,” which is being staged under the optimistic slogan “Life goes on despite the circumstances.”
The exhibition – which is presided over by French journalist Marine Jacquemin, cast in the role of “Godmother” – will feature a series of photographs taken in the 1980s, during Lebanon’s Civil War, by George Azar, Patrick Baz, Jack Dabaghian, Aline Manoukian, Samer Mohdad and Roger Moukarzel, all of whom were in their 20s at the time the photos were taken.
Following on from last year’s program, the main hall will feature stands from around 40 local, regional and international galleries from 15 countries, among them a number of local design galleries. The fair will also reprise its series of talks and round tables, this year focused on photography and South Asian art.
Lebanese artist Jean-Marc Nahas will be revisiting the practice of live drawing, enacted at his solo show at the Beirut Exhibition Center earlier this year. This time he’ll be drawing in collaboration with French artist Fabien Verschaere. The two artists, whose work is united by its comic-strap quality, will work in tandem to cover a seven-meter wall with their complex drawings.
Lebanese painter and sculptor Charbel Samuel Aoun is scheduled to exhibit an installation entitled “Garbagescape,” consisting of a selection of rubbish collected from the Lebanese countryside and displayed in glass boxes, to highlight the country’s 21st century identity. – The Daily Star
The Beirut Art Fair will take place in BIEL from Sept. 19-22 and works will be exhibited in Downtown as part of Beirut Art Week from Sept. 18-24. For more information see www.menasart-fair.com