Charlotte Moth, '..this was the plane - the variously large and accentuated, but always exactly determined plane - from which everything would be made...,' 2012. Collection Kadist Art Foundation.
Goda Budvytyte, Malak Helmy, Jumana Manna & Sille Storihle, Ji?í Kovanda, Charlotte Moth, Melvin Moti, The Propeller Group & Superflex, Walid Raad, Akram Zaatari, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lina Attallah, Adelita Husni-Bey, Ashok Sukumaran / & more
Seasons can be beautiful but stifling. Weather wise, spring has always been a short one in Egypt, and yet our seasonal minds are baffled by the political state of things. Which is why, on this calendar note, Beirut ceases to imagine the future along the lines of seasons and instead embarks on a number of engagements that expand (in) time. What was and what is will be weaving our new online presence into a kaleidoscopic carpet, as envisioned by Goda Budvytyte. Keep an eye out for the new website launch in May, and for now copy these pen marks onto your calendar:
Between 31 March and 26 April, Beirut presents Malak Helmy’s first major solo exhibition, Lost Referents of Some Attraction, in the Sharjah Art Gallery at the American University in Cairo. The show reformulates a selection of Helmy’s texts and recent lens-based works into an associative constellation of signs and shapes that loosely respond to the university campus site at the fringes of Cairo, rendering its traits of distance, desert or mirage. An array of indexical pointers, placeholders and projections that revert images to texts and texts to images, hold the space in place with the aid of a bird’s travelogue, a gargling marble fountain, and other movements in a room. On 23 April, a day of talks unfolds a dialogue with invited guests, including Antonia Alampi, Brian Conley, Jens Maier-Rothe, Matthew Rana, Nile Sunset Annex, Sarah Rifky, and others.
In April we delve back into our Notes on The Magic of the State. The recently published book (hardback, English and Arabic) comprises a collection of essays, interviews and other fictional stories to accompany the two exhibitions held last year at Beirut in Cairo and Lisson Gallery in London. It features contributions by Silvia Sgualdini, Beirut, Jonathan Allen, Bassam El Baroni, Will Bradley, Angus Cameron, Clinical Wasteman, K.D., Hany Darwish, Peggy Hackney, Rana Hamadeh, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Michael Taussig, Evan Calder Williams, and Peter Lamborn Wilson. The book launch will be chaperoned by The Goodness Regime, a film by Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle investigating the foundations of the ideology and self-image of modern Norway—from the Crusades, via the adventures of Fridtjof Nansen and the trauma of wartime occupation, to the diplomatic theatre of the Oslo Peace Accords.
In the noted absence of private and public collections of contemporary art in Egypt, Beirut imagines their possible presence with A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost, a project that brings over thirty artworks from the Kadist collections in Paris and San Francisco on a year-long residency to Cairo. As temporary guest to the city, the collection will be present in various shows and events. Beirut will temporarily transform into a collection institution with a widespread infrastructure, directing this ‘residency’ in close collaboration with the Kadist Art Foundation and various local partners including the Contemporary Image Collective, Townhouse Gallery, and Institut Francais d’Egypte au Caire. The selection comprises works by internationally acclaimed artists from around the globe, many of them will be showing their work for the first time in Egypt, including Ji?í Kovanda, Charlotte Moth, Melvin Moti, The Propeller Group & Superflex, Walid Raad, Akram Zaatari, and many more. The project will kick off with a joint exhibition of all works across three venues between 6 May and 18 June.
The Beirut Collaborative Commissions program continues to expand with a new reiteration of Tape Echo by Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Cairo is popularly known as one of the noisiest cities in the world, owing most of its sonic constitution to traffic and a widespread network of loudspeaker jurisdictions in public space. Tape Echo is a new body of work by Abu Hamdan that attempts to employ the technological artifacts of the city as a means to document, inhabit and map its complex acoustic topography. The project has been newly commissioned by and was recently presented at Beirut in Cairo. An expanded version will be traveling to the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven this summer.
Up next and in the making is The It That We Do, a compendium of thoughts on the idea of instituting, examining the reality that surrounds the desire to institute and organize, in the field of contemporary art. The questions unfold through the individual perspectives and positions that refine our methodology and analysis of the “it” that we do, including contributions by Ashok Sukumaran, Lina Attallah, Adelita Husni-Bey, and many more.
For a full program of our events visit our website and sign up for our newsletter, or find us on Facebook at “Beirut in Cairo.”
Beirut needs your support. If you would like to donate books, write us a cheque, or send love letters please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lost Referents of Some Attraction by Malak Helmy is commissioned by AUC_LAB.
A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost is realized in collaboration with the Kadist Art Foundation, and with generous support of the British Council, Institut Francais and Goethe-Institut in Cairo.
Tape Echo by Lawrence Abu Hamdan was funded by the British Council in Egypt and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.
Beirut is made possible with the structural support of Townhouse, the Foundation for Arts Initiatives and the Young Arab Theatre Fund.