Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
FRIDAY, 18 APR 2014
09:54 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
20 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Art
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Have you encountered the Odd ones?
A+ A-

BEIT MERY, Lebanon: Stop by Beit Mery’s Al-Bustan Hotel in the coming month, and you may find yourself face-to-face with some unusual installations, made out of wood and painted in vivid colors.

These artworks came straight out of Lebanese artist Nabil Helou’s imagination. “Odditorium” consists of around 40 pieces, a result of the artist’s study of emptiness and his new take on the arts.

“I wanted to create a special world,” Helou told The Daily Star, “full of colors and communication, [while] changing the concept of modern or contemporary art.”

Helou used to work mainly with stone and marble and his sculptures were reminiscent of the Basbous’ legacy. His range of work is extensive and he has participated in multiple exhibitions, most recently the inaugural show of the MACAM museum in Atila, in which he presented his installation “Rainwash,” which dwelt with how society casts and molds people.

He is also known for his busts in honor of figures such as Choukri Ghanem, Adib Seif, Omar Onsi and Gibran Khalil Gibran, among others.

Helou’s latest work aims to supplement the classical program of the Al-Bustan festival with an approach to art that prizes innovation. His sculptural works, which consist of straight pieces of wood assembled into asymmetrical formations, are populated by tiny figures – tall, thin creatures Helou refers to as “Odds.”

It is hard to categorize Helou’s work as either contemporary or modern art, but some viewers may classify the three-dimensional works as installations. Several wall-mounted series aim to demonstrate how Helou uses space and emptiness to portray the malleability of frequencies. He aims to visually convey the rhythm of sound, whether music or speech.

Of course, for some viewers, it can be difficult to understand the true meaning of Helou’s “Odds.” Some may assume that the angular, geometrical forms are part of an architectural project; others infer some sort of contemporary vision of a philosophical concept.

Worthy of note is Helou’s choice of title for the show, “Odditorium.” A play on the word “auditorium,” the name implies that the artist aims to create a world within a world at Al-Bustan, a sort of artistic microcosm reflecting that which can’t be seen: emptiness.

Several series can be seen in the hall adjoining the hotel’s auditorium. The first encapsulates the idea of the “Odditorium” in itself – a wooden sculpture inhabited by a number of Helou’s “Odds.” Although the piece is composed of straight lines, Helou’s juxtaposing of vivid colors, adorning the work with vertical and horizontal stripes, lends the work movement and dynamism.”

“Odd Family Portrait” is the only painting displayed at the venue. It portrays 12 “Odds” in front of a black-and-red background. According to the artist, several people have asked him why he chose an old frame for such an unusual piece. The choice was deliberate, he explains.

“Found in Bonn, 1770,” the exhibition tag next to the tag reads. “Bonn is the town where Beethoven was born, and 1770 is his year of birth,” Helou explained.

By mounting his painting in an old-fashioned frame, Helou aims to pay a silent tribute to Beethoven and to “all great musicians.”

Some onlookers may assume that Helou’s tall, stick-like characters are inspired by African art, more specifically totems, but Helou asserted that in fact his “Odds” have nothing to do with totems, which are mainly used for rituals. His elongated “Odds,” by contrast, are here to introduce their world and to force viewers to notice a new presence in Al-Bustan’s auditorium.

For his next project, Helou wants to continue working with his “Odds” and make them livelier. He intends on working more with space, he explained, in an attempt to immerse the onlooker in his artistic environment along with the “Odds” that inhabit it. “I want to make them interactive,” he said, “so that people can touch them.”

Nabil Helou’s “Odditorium” is on display at Al-Bustan Hotel until March 23. For more information, please visit www.albustanfestival.com.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 24, 2014, on page 16.
Home Art
 
     
 
Lebanon
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
These artworks came straight out of Lebanese artist Nabil Helou's imagination. "Odditorium" consists of around 40 pieces, a result of the artist's study of emptiness and his new take on the arts.

It is hard to categorize Helou's work as either contemporary or modern art, but some viewers may classify the three-dimensional works as installations.

Of course, for some viewers, it can be difficult to understand the true meaning of Helou's "Odds".

The first encapsulates the idea of the "Odditorium" in itself – a wooden sculpture inhabited by a number of Helou's "Odds". Although the piece is composed of straight lines, Helou's juxtaposing of vivid colors, adorning the work with vertical and horizontal stripes, lends the work movement and dynamism".

Nabil Helou's "Odditorium" is on display at Al-Bustan Hotel until March 23 .
Related Articles
 
 
Long-lost Renoir piece returns to Baltimore museum
 
 
Civil War vanished immortalized in art
 
 
Putting contemporary Saudi art in context
More from
Chirine Lahoud
 
 
EU awards secret sum to four Lebanese artists
 
 
Jounieh Festival shows to go on despite political tensions
 
 
Mashallah News and AMI tell tales of Beirut, past and present
 
 
Perspectives on ultraviolet light and gum
 
 
When there is more to a point than a dot
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 17, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Putin will keep rolling, until Obama says no
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS