Saleh Barakat Gallery invites you to a retrospective of Abdel Hamid Baalbaki’s work. The opening night will coincide with the book launch of a monograph on the artist by Gregory Buchakjian.
The retrospective showcases Abdel Hamid Baalbaki’s oeuvre from his early years as a student at the Lebanese University’s Institute of Fine Arts until his last paintings of the mid 2000s. As an artist whose practice developed during the years of the war, Baalbaki was concerned with how to represent his reality. He rejected the aestheticism of many of his peers, and refused to participate in the art salons of his time in resistance of art’s commodification. He sought a critical form of realism to address the everyday in his region of Jabal Amel in the Lebanese South. Inspired by the Mexican muralists’ engagement with socialist realism, he produced “murals”, but on the portable medium of canvas.
Towards the end of his life, he began to paint landscapes as a way to confront the rise of ecological disaster, as well as the political desolation that accompanied the emergence of the new world order.
Abdel Hamid Baalbaki (1940-2013) was an artist whose practice spanned painting, sculpture, fiction, and poetry. He graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from the Lebanese University’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1971, and pursued advanced studies in Paris. He returned to the Lebanese University to teach in 1974, where he remained a professor until 2004. He published three books of poetry, and two of prose.
He also wrote extensively for numerous journals and art and culture magazines. Notable solo shows of his took place in Gallery One (1983), Glass Hall in the Ministry of Tourism (1998), and Unesco (2008). He has participated in over sixty group exhibitions in Lebanon and worldwide. He was the president of The Lebanese Association for Painters and Sculptors (LAAPS) from 1992-1994.
17 November - 30 December, 2017
7 - 30 December, 2017
Text by Natasha Gasparian
Youssef Haidar has developed an artistic practice of painting which is not confined to its characteristic support of the canvas. He paints on tiles, bowls, and plates. Working with a variety of supports, he brings out contrasting layers of depth and a wider range of color to the flat abstract representations. While his selection of media is extensive, all his work shares a singular language. His process is long and leisurely: he cooks the ceramics at high temperatures, paints and then glazes them. It is one of contemplation for the artist, but it also induces an analogous response in the viewer. Haidar’s artistic practice complements his architectural projects wherein space and light serve as his main components, but it allows him to produce work which is not motivated a priori by the functional constraints.
Youssef Haidar (b. Baalbek, 1965) pursued his higher education in Paris. He graduated as “Architecte DPLG” from Ecole Nationale Supérieure D'Architecture de Paris la Villette in 1988, and then worked in several French architecture firms before returning to Beirut in 1994. His architectural projects include the Soap Museum in Saida, The Riad El Solh Museum, the Omari Grand Mosque in Beirut, the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut, and The Museum of Memory and Urban Cultural Center "Beit Beirut". He participated in several group exhibitions in Paris between 1986 and 1994, and in Beirut at the Guiragossian Museum in 2006. He has also had a solo exhibition at Galerie Fadi Moghabghab in 2005. He is a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters.