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A total of 17,000 people are estimated to have disappeared over the course of Lebanon's 15-year Civil War.In 1992, with the war winding its slow way to a close and the families of those who vanished during the conflict hoping desperately for news, multimedia artist Salah Saouli decided to tackle what had already become a taboo issue in a three-part installation entitled "Time Out".For one of the trio of installations, Saouli gathered 23 portraits of missing young men, all of whom were staring directly into the camera.Three of the 23 portraits in "Time Out" form part of the semi-retrospective of Saouli's work currently on show at Hamra's Agial Art Gallery.Saouli's solo show consists of fragments and photographs of 13 installation works completed over the past 25 years, 10 of which form part of the Y. Hayek collection.Many of the works on show have never been exhibited in Lebanon.Unfortunately, the diminutive size of the Hamra gallery has necessitated that Saouli present severely constrained portions of the original works on show, but – with the help of two false walls – the artist has succeeded in balancing the work in the limited space available.As with most installation pieces, however, the physical interaction between viewer and artwork forms a crucial facet to many of Saouli's works, which is missing from the cramped show.
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