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to make mountains out of fields: one rewriting of ‘beirut’s postwar contemporary art’
ghalya saadawi

01.03.2017·01.03.2017 7:30pm

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archive, memory, trauma, postwar, postdocumentary, postorientalist, contemporary art were oft-repeated sets of ideas deployed to talk about visual artists working in lebanon after the declared end of a long war. yet the past’s future did not end up where it could have, in today’s present. ghalya saadawi returns there momentarily and theorizes some of the tactics, forms and content that were used to underscore the apparatus at artists' disposal, in the hope that this counter-writing counteracts narratives that were sometimes descriptive, normative, or problematic, insofar as they were recuperative. narratives bringing about global turns they were in part implicated in. yet, remaining positive and selective, saadawi discusses the devices, anti-ideological, self-aware, determinate and perhaps not yet ‘contemporary art’, which were sometimes employed in a bid to battle the things that still need battling. since what is solid melts into liquid.


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ghalya saadawi lives in beirut. she teaches at the american university of beirut and at the university of st. joseph, and works as resident professor of ashkal alwan’s home workspace program. she earned a doctorate in 2015 from goldsmiths university of london titled rethinking the witness: art after the lebanese wars, and her current interests revolve around theories of the contemporary, art pedagogies, artist unions, critiques of contemporary art, neoliberal discourse and method in art institutions, among others. she co-edits makhzin and is affiliated with bicar.

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