ARTIST:

Marwan Rechmaoui

Marwan Rechmaoui
Beirut Caoutchouc, 2004
Engraved rubber
3 x 825 x 675 cm

Marwan Rechmaoui is a Lebanese artist whose work often deals with themes of urban development and social history. His Beirut Caoutchouc is a large black rubber floor mat in the shape of Beirut’s current map. Embossed in precise detail with roads and byways and segmented into 60 individual pieces demarcating neighbourhoods, Rechmaoui’s installation scrutinises the physical and social formation of one of the world’s most conflicted cities. Through this piece, Rechmaoui highlights these divisions to question the underlying causes and consequences of cultural difference, affiliation, and identity, and explore how the city’s troubled history has both impacted and shaped the everyday lives of its inhabitants.

Marwan Rechmaoui
Spectre (The Yacoubian Building, Beirut) (detail), 2006
Non-shrinking grout, aluminium, glass, fabric

Spectre (The Yacoubian Building, Beirut) is an exact replica of Rechmaoui’s former apartment building. The building was evacuated in 2006 during the military conflict with Israel, and is presented as eerily vacant, signifying the abrupt end of its use and the abandoned lives of its inhabitants. Made from concrete and glass, held together by grout and thin wooden strips, the structure subtly buckles and warps in a precarious balance. Details such as shop front signs and colourful house-proud doors barred behind security screens point to a once vibrant community and its deterioration, evidencing the cultural, political and economic shifts that transform locality and mark an increasingly unstable and anxious relationship to place.
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Thursday, 15 April 2021: COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS UPDATE:

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