This exhibition puts on view a wide selection of paintings by Oussama Baalbaki, some previously unseen, which were produced between 2010 and the present day. In doing so, this show seeks to defend Baalbaki’s artistic position as primarily grounded in the observation and painting of contemporary life. Running counter to a thematic exhibition wherein the theme precedes the work, Baalbaki presents a compilation of works that are not immediately unified by a singular idea or concept. They are symptomatically related after the fact in their function as commentary on the artist’s sociopolitical reality.
Oussama Baalbaki was born in the village of Odeisse in the South of Lebanon in 1978. He graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts at the Lebanese University in 2002. He has participated in group exhibitions in numerous institutions, including the Sursock Museum in Lebanon, as well as abroad, in the cities of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, London, Miami, Munich, New York, and Washington. His solo exhibitions include Paintings in Black (2004) at Dar El Nadwa, Scenes of Isolation (2007) at Safana Gallery, and Less smoke, and more… (2009), Rituals of Isolation (2011), and Pleadings of the Light (2017) at Agial Art Gallery, as well as Shadows of Gloominess (2014) at Tanit Gallery hosted in collaboration with Agial Art Gallery. In 2009, he won the silver medal for painting at the “Jeux de la Francophonie”. Baalbaki lives and works in Beirut.
Against the Grain
13 July - 25 August, 2018
The Seven Lives of M. Said
27 July - 25 August, 2018
Salah Saouli presents different aspects of the life of M. Said, an adventurer, body-builder, fighter, arms dealer and film producer. Having been a young and fervent body-builder, M. Said gained recognition with his involvement in the brief armed crisis of 1958. Afterwards, he worked as a bodyguard for several political figures, fought briefly at the beginning of the Civil War, and eventually became a well-known arms dealer. In the early 1980s, M. Said decided to leave the "dirty businesses" behind and produced five, mostly action, films in the early 1980s before going bankrupt. Today, M. Said is 76 years old. He lives in Beirut and runs a traditional café in a popular neighbourhood. Through a critical reflection on the often-contradictory facets of the protagonist’s personality, this exhibition, made up of objects, prints and video installations, offers a parable on the sociocultural reality of Lebanon, and specifically the city of Beirut, from the late 1950s until the present day.
Born in Beirut in 1962, and based in Berlin since 1985, Salah Saouli received his formal training in painting from the Institute of Fine Arts in the Lebanese University, Beirut, painting and sculpture from the Hochschule der Künste (University of Arts), Berlin, and printmaking from the Chelsea School of Art, London. He has been exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions in Europe and Asia since 1991.
He has also been invited to various artist residencies, including at the Nagoya University of Arts in Japan. Saouli is the recipient of several awards, including the Honor Award at the third Sharjah Biennale (1997), and the 1st prize at the Blickachsen Sculpture Biennial (2006) in Worms, Germany.