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Cycles of Collapsing Progress - Contemporary Art Exhibition

Opening 22 September of Cycles of Collapsing Progress

AT 6.30: Rashid Karami International Fair

Co-organised by BeMA (Beirut Museum of Art) & STUDIOCUR/ART
Curated by Karina El Helou
In partnership with the Anissa Touati Corporation for Mexico
Scenography of the Exhibition Hall, Dome, and Production of the Exhibition by Antoine Maalouf Architects

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The concrete run-down structures of the Fair, considered as one of the most important legacies of modern architecture in the Middle East, will be in dialogue through contemporary art, with the citadel, a monument to the layers of history. The two locations' current states provoked reflections, in the context of the exhibition, on cyclical time and the cycles of collapse.

The notion of cyclical time, common to past civilizations, is now considered archaic, for according to Romanian intellectual, Mircea Eliade modern societies have a linear understanding of time. This contemporary understanding considers progress as its only possible outcome and therefore does not take into account repeated cycles of collapse.

The contemplation of the life and death of civilisations can be traced back to the medieval Tunisian-born historian Ibn Khaldoun, who suggested that historical cycles function in a loop, starting as Umran Badaoui (bedouin civilisation) evolving into Umran Hadari (urban civilisation) before collapsing. Recent studies by American historian, Joseph Tainter on the collapse of complex societies, like the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Mayas, show that there are several possible causes for their downfall, including natural disasters, wars, and epidemics. But one theory can be singled out. When a society becomes highly stratified, it is more likely to fall, as the cost of maintaining it is high.

In the post-modern world, or as the sociologist Bruno Latour actually suggested in the title of his book that ‘we have never been modern’, scientists affirm that since the beginning of the anthropocene era, our future decline will be caused by an impending ecological disaster due to global warming. If human beings, nature, and even history, function cyclically, it is possible to think about the limits of progress and the cost that entails.

The exhibition presents 19 projects in total, including 10 commissioned artworks along 9 produced works by artists from Lebanon and Mexico. The meeting of the two scenes allowed the exchange of geographical perspectives on the theme. This project includes residencies in Beirut with Edgardo Aragon, Fritzia Irizar and Gabriel Rico at BAR-Beirut Art Residency and Guadalajara with Marwan Rechmaoui and Stephanie Saadé at PAOS GDL residency.

Opening event 22 September, 2018
At 4:30 pm in the Citadel of Tripoli
At 6:30 pm in the Rashid Karmi International Fair

Artists in the Rashid Karami International Fair:
Edgardo Aragon, Ali Cherri, Jose Davila, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Lamia Joreige, Fritzia Irizar, Jorge Mendez Blake, Damian Ortega, Marwan Rechmaoui, Gabriel Rico, Stéphanie Saadé, Roy Samaha, Jalal Toufic, Zad Moultaka
- Opening times of the Fair: Wed-Sun from 3pm to 9pm

Artists in the Citadel of Tripoli:
Haig Aivazian, Pablo Davila, Rayyane Tabet, Emanuel Tovar
- Opening times of the Citadel : Mon-Sun from 8am to 6pm

Parallel Program of the Exhibition:

- 27th of September:
Conference at the Sursock Museum, “Oscar Niemeyer's Fair in Tripoli: A Modern Legacy in Danger”
From 7pm until 9pm

- 10th of October:
Conference at AZM University, “Luis Barragán and Beyond”
From 6pm until 7pm

+ more to come

Sponsors of the Exhibition:

Under the Patronage of: The Ministry of Culture
UNESCO Office in Beirut
Main Partner: Mikati Foundation
Silver Sponsors: Robert Matta Foundation & Alfa managed by Orascom Telecom
Supporting Sponsors: Bemo Bank & Libank
Partners: Nasco, Rashid Karami International Fair & Ruwwad al-Tanmeya, BEIRUT ART FAIR, L’hôte Libanais
Media Partners: MTV & L’Orient Le Jour

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