Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, January 15, 2014 Jeddah-based Athr Gallery expands the scope of Saudi Arabia’s emerging art scene this month with a solo exhibition of Lebanese contemporary multimedia artist, Ziad Antar, titled, Liminality.
In 2012, Antar went on a photographic journey, capturing landmark parts of Jeddah, including the monumental sculptures on the corniche of the Red Sea city. The former mayor of Jeddah, Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi, who initiated the public sculpture park including commissioned large-scale sculptures by the likes of Joan Miró, Henry Moore, César Baldaccini, Aref Al Rayes and more, which have become iconic parts of the city, and are garnering attentiveness recently. In 2012, part of a major renovation project of the entire corniche of Jeddah, these sculpturs underwent an exhaustive restoration venture, some were removed, while others remained on the site, but completely covered and protected from the construction work around them. Antar observed the new forms these sculptures have become up-close, covered in cloth and wrapped in rope while in their place on large plinths, expressing the immense change the city is going through. Documenting the transformation of these sculptures and the city, Antar used a plastic camera with a plastic lens, while at the same time exploring the affects of light on his film. “What interested me in recreating the form of these covered sculptures is the act of repetition or recreating itself, the relationship between public art and the spaces they occupy and transformation. The inevitable question is ‘where is reality?’” the artist said.
Accompanying the photographs, Antar recreated some of the sculptures in concrete, in the state they were during the renovation phase of the corniche. “The sculptures reflect the change, or transformation of this city. Twenty years after they were erected, the entire city is also living through the same transformation. As an artist, I transformed these sculptures into new artworks, and this transformation is what I am fascinated in,” Antar said. An 8mm black and white film was also created, completing the project by exploring the city’s landscape and its current state of change.
Liminality, Antar’s solo exhibition is curated byPascal Beausse, Directory of the Photography Department at the Fonds National d'Art Contemporain and Curators and Collections Manager at the Centre National des Arts Plastique in France. “The photographic footprint is sculptural; it adds a sequence that affirms the richness and vitality of everyday life on the streets of the world,” said Beausse.
Ziad Antar was born in 1978 in Saida, Lebanon. He obtained a degree in Agricultural Engineering in 2001 and has been working with video and photography since 2002, and lives between Paris and Saida. Antar’s work is held in a number of international institutions including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and the FNAC Centre (Fonds National d’Art Contemporain). His work has been exhibited around the world including the Palais de Tokyo Paris La Triennal and The Sharjah Art Foundation in 2012, as well as The New Museum New York in 2009.