BEIRUT: Guns, cigars and the spoils of hunting – the latest exhibit at Espaces Ephemere gallery displays objets d’art with men in mind.
Espaces Ephemere opened an objectively unromantic exhibition “OH BOY” in time for the holiday of love and will keep it open until Feb. 22. The testosterone-inspired designer products – from fountain pens to antique military helmets – are a reminder that the Valentine’s Day gift exchange goes both ways.
“There is a little bit of everything, but everything is limited edition or outstanding,” owner Zena Baroudi said. “We want girlfriends to come pick something for their boyfriends.”
But you won’t find roses or boxes of chocolate at this V-day bazaar. In place of diamond necklaces and heart-shaped pendants, “OH BOY” is displaying accessories such as cuff links, rope bracelets, headphones by B&O and luxury cigar cases.
Baroudi brought the odds and ends from fellow galleries, local artists and shops peddling unusual things, such as T-shirts from La T-shirterie, painted beer bottles by Long Hair Yuppie Scum and throw pillows designed by Nid A’Beille.
The prices range run from $30 to a whopping $20,000. The majority of the collective exhibit comprises fine art and photography done by local and international designers. Such contributors include photographers Marc Nader and Emile Issa and artist Bennoit Debbane.
A piece of fine art may seem like a risky gift idea. But there’s no mistaking Espaces’ target audience: Even through the glass gallery facade on Charles Helou Boulevard, red canvases covered in painted handguns pop from the back wall.
Aiming for something more explicit? Baroudi also picked up a series of black-and-white nudes. There’s no better proof of a secure relationship than gifting another woman’s bare breasts – though in this case it’s just a photograph.
The gallery is also displaying contemporary cubist art of lounging naked ladies.
There’s also plenty of gift inspiration for the inner gentlemen, like leather briefcases, polished wooden canes and authentic military helmets circa World War II. Baroudi’s even put a stuffed and mounted buck’s head, antlers and all, up for sale.
Espaces Ephemere has been around for about three years. Baroudi originally opened the space for a 10-day exhibit but has kept it going as a space for momentary collective shows and other artistic projects. It’s changing purpose gave the gallery its name, meaning “changing spaces” in French.
A designer herself, Baroudi contributed to the exhibit with a series of creative storage boxes for CDs or DVDs, she suggested.
“We have things if you’re 15 or 70 years old,” Baroudi said. “The people who’ve come said you did the job for me.”
Espaces Ephemere is located in the Saifi Port District on Al-Jamarek Street and open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call 01-442-265.