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I Spy With My Little Eye…

A New Generation of Beirut Artists

11/07/1522/08/15


Tuesday to Saturday, 11am – 6pm, FREE
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George Awde, Untitled (Beirut), 2014. Inkjet print. 30x38inch. ed. of 5. Courtesy of the artist.

Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath of Art Reoriented, I Spy with My Little Eye… is an exhibition that explores a shift in artistic practice and individual concerns within a fiercely independent new generation of artists connected to Beirut.

I Spy with My Little Eye… explores the practices of a new generation of artists most of whom are in their late twenties to early thirties. All of them were born after the break out of the war in 1975, and thus none of them have experienced the time of peace and prosperity preceding the war. Some in this group don’t remember the Civil War at all, and those who do could have no adult recollection of the conflict that ended in 1990. However, for both, those who do and who don’t, what differentiates them from the widely known and celebrated post- civil war generation, is the way in which they bring a new set of formal and semantic interests to their practice that is removed from the preceding generation’s focus on archives and documentary. They favor the personal over the collective and the formalistic over the outright political. And for the most part, they do not choose to make the Civil War an entry point of their artistic practice.

With materials that range from intimate personal memorabilia to the unconfined elements of nature, their work is imbued with a sense of fleetness, transience and fragility. In performances and installations that recruit conceptual and formal elements from painting, photography, sculpture and film, they are choosing to tease out the conventional boundaries that define the different disciplines from which they borrow.

The exhibition employs the metaphor of the game by which children secretively choose objects within their surrounding, highlighting the role of these artists as clandestine observers rather than public commentators. I Spy with My Little Eye… provides the artists with an opportunity to showcase their works within a generational context suggesting the rise of a young movement marked by new formal and semantic concerns.

I Spy with My Little Eye… introduces the works of these artists to new audiences allowing for new types of engagement and ways of seeing. The exhibition encompasses an extensive parallel program that will highlight Beirut’s extraordinary resurgence as a creative hub, not just for the region, but one that offers interesting models for the rest of the world.  It will be on view at the Mosaic Rooms in London from July 10 until August 22nd, 2015 followed by Casa Arabe in Madrid and Cordoba in the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016.

The artists featured in the exhibition include Caline AounGeorge AwdeMirna BamiehNour BishoutyPascal HachemCharbel-joseph HBoutrosAya HaidarGeörgette PowerJoe NamyStéphanie SaadéSiskaLara Tabet and Tala Worrell.

Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath are the co-founders of Art Reoriented, a multidisciplinary curatorial platform based in Munich and New York.

Some of their recent museum exhibitions include Mona Hatoum: Turbulence at Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha (2014), and Songs of Loss and Songs of Love: Oum Kulthoum and Lee Nan-Young at the Gwangju Museum of Art in South Korea (2014). In 2013, they were the curators of the Lebanese Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, and curated the comprehensive retrospective Paul Guiragossian: The Human Condition at the Beirut Exhibition Center. Bardaouil and Fellrath curated Mathaf’s inaugural contemporary art exhibition Told Untold Retold (2010 – 2011) and the critically acclaimed traveling exhibition Tea with Nefertiti (2012 – 2014).

Bardaouil and Fellrath have authored and contributed to several publications such as Overcoming the Modern: Dansaekhwa, The Korean Monochrome Movement, Iran Inside Out, ItaliaArabia, and Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring: Conversations with Artists from the Arab World.

Private View: Friday 10 July, 6.30 – 8.30pm. Free rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

Curators’ Tour: (Saturday 11 July, 12:00 – 1:00pm) Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath discuss the works and practices of the artists. Free rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

Artists’ Talk: (Thursday 16 July, 7:00 – 8:00pm) Some of the exhibiting artists discuss their work and practices.  Further details will be posted shortly. Free rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

Institutions and Emerging Artists: (Sat 25 July, 12-1pm) A discussion on the role of open submission exhibitions and awards for emerging artists in the region. Free rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

Part of Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture. 11 – 26 July 2015.

Shubbak is the UK’s premier festival of contemporary Arab culture, presenting outstanding international Arab artists to London audiences and communities. www.shubbak.co.uk

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