Wounds of Beirut on show in exhibition of works of art destroyed by explosion in port

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The exhibition in a museum that was itself struck by an explosion reveals torn paintings and scraped sculptures.

The entrance is a 17th-century version of the image of St. John the Baptist by Guido Reni, which was blown to pieces. Nearby, a chandelier lies on the floor where it dropped.

After the explosion of Aug. 4 that demolished most of the eastern seafront and ravaged galleries and hotel lobbies that exhibited some of the most prominent art in Lebanon, Beirut is slowly rebuilding. A new exhibition in the city tries not to reassemble the artworks but to recreate them, considering the wounds in the canvases and abrasions in the stone sculptures. Wounded Art, a series of works damaged and destroyed by the explosion, opened at Villa Audi this month, a mosaic museum that had been hit hard by itself. Lights situated behind canvases draw attention to the damage to each work in small rooms with curated music and passages of Lebanese scripture and verse. The idea was, without touching it, to restore the artwork,”The idea was to rebuild the artwork without touching it,” “In the lobby of the five-star Le Gray Hotel in Beirut, just a few hundred meters from the port, Nayla Romanos Iliya’s Entangled Love sculpture was located. The explosion destroyed the building, severely damaging the sculpture and putting Iliya in a “coma-like state,” she said. “I wasn’t able to function, I wasn’t interested in working, I wasn’t able to construct, not able to think, it was too much to think,

Along with another of her broken paintings, “Entangled Love” she chose to show “Salaam,” which was also in the lobby of the downtown hotel that was at the core of the 2019 protest movement in Lebanon. “For me, the sculptures were witnesses to everything that happened in Beirut, and the coup de gras was this explosion, and they ended up falling down and being damaged,” she said. The exhibition also contains works created after the explosion and others that have undergone “extended relief,” including a painting by British painter Tom Young, who has crudely sewn the broken canvas of one of his pieces together. The blasted core of Reni’s John is blurred until the light abruptly goes out by projections of other historical depictions of the Baptist, leaving a brown canvas surrouuu. ” said Mainguy. “Why can’t we survive with the wound only? Why is it that we have to forget? And how far in our daily lives do we have to go to live with this wound? These are more than just aesthetic issues, he said, in a city facing economic and health problems at the same time as the continuing effects of the explosion. The exhibition is on display through January 16, sponsored by Banque Bemo and the Audi Foundation.

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