The Atlas Group, "I Only Wish That I Could Weep", 1996-2003.
Akram Zaatari, "Saida, June 6th 1982", detail, 1982-2006.
Akram Zaatari, "Saida, June 6th 1982", detail, 1982-2006.
Art Now in Lebanon
Curated by Andrée Sfeir-Semler

March – May 2008

"Lebanese artists from the XXth century until the 1970s work in the tradition of western art. There is no specific art or style which roots in a Lebanese tradition.

There is a vacuum in the development and in the art production in Lebanon during the Lebanese war.

It is only around the beginning of the 1990s that singular artists emerge and start developing characteristics which we can describe as a typical Lebanese artistic style.

These artists are all today in there late thirties. They do all know each other, they meet, discuss, connect but each of them work on his own and has developed a personal hand writing. They are all conceptual artists and have in common the topic they research: they work on the collective memory of the country, on archives : press archives, photographic archives, story telling…They are all interested in the political, geographical and cultural history of this part of the world with a focus on Lebanon.

Their artistic production feels therefore often almost documentary. The art pieces are testimonies of our past and oracles for our future. These artists are writing history.

The topics they are interested in dictate their mediums: they write, make videos, photographs, composite digital images by using archival means or make sculptural installations. None of them paints or draws…

These artists are: The Atlas Group / Walid Raad, Khalil Joreige & Joanna Hadjithomas, Lamia Joreige, Rabih Mroue, Marwan Rechmaoui, Walid Sadek, Jalal Toufic, Paola Yacoub, Akram Zaatari.

There works are exhibited in the main building.

I have invited four very young Lebanese artists from the upcoming generation: they are in their twenties. These continue and innovate new visions… These artists are: Ziad Antar, Mazen Kerbaj, Randa Mirza, Rayyane Tabet. Their works are displayed in the Blue House."

-Andrée Sfeir-Semler,
Hamburg and Beirut