follow us on
NEWS / Paul Guirgaossian retrospective marking 20 years since the artist passed away. Paul Guiragossian: The Human Condition, from Nov. 20 to Jan. 6, 2014 at the Beirut Exhibition Center.
Twenty years exactly upon his passing, a major retrospective on the life and work of Paul Guiragossian (1925 – 1993) will open at the Beirut Exhibition Center on November 20, 2013.
(Beirut, Lebanon – October 14, 2013) Paul Guiragossian: The Human Condition is the hitherto most comprehensive retrospective for the artist consisting of more than 100 paintings and works on paper, many of which never exhibited before, alongside an extensive range of original archival documents spanning five decades of his life. Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath of Art Reoriented, a multidisciplinary curatorial platform based in Munich and New York, this is a long overdue re-assessment of the life and work of a pioneering artistic and intellectual figure from Lebanon and in the Arab world. On commenting about the show, the curators said: “Paul Guiragossian spent his entire life exploring through his art the human condition in all its facets until his passing in 1993. Twenty years on, while the predicament of the Arab world remains behest with so much turbulence, the exhibition offers a message of hope through presenting the visionary philosophy that lies behind Guiragossian’s work, not only in his contribution to Arab Modernity at large, but to his never ceasing faith in the ascendance of the human being.”
Through their selection, the curators contextualize the multiple strands of Guiragossian’s career within a contemporary curatorial reading. The curatorial narrative highlights his pivotal position amongst a specific generation of artists and his negotiation of modernity’s construct of form vs. content.
The exhibition is envisioned as a non-chronological, non-linear space where several interconnected galleries are based on one of the central topics that the artist kept on revisiting over the years: “Self”, “Family”, “Woman and Motherhood”, “Faith and Despair”, “Laborers and Street life” and “Exile and Belonging”. These are recurring themes that drove the conceptual impulse underscoring Guiragossian’s relentless search for a formalistic expression that could best describe the infinite complexity of the human condition. “The exhibition does not follow a conventional exhibition format,” the curators added. “Paul Guiragossian believed that art existed beyond the dimension of time and it was important to reflect this philosophy in the presentation of his oeuvre.”
On Paul Guiragossian’s canvases, woman, child and man would become faceless imprints delineated by a vibrant brushstroke; their psychological loneliness and corporeal isolation portrayed though patches of color that are adjacent but never overlapping. Guiragossian best expressed this when he once said: “I’ve had friends tell me that painting is supposed to brighten humanity, like that of Matisse, of Renoir. I have always responded that I could not tolerate such outburst of color. It contains a certain innocence that I could never have. Perhaps, I have suffered too much to be able to entertain. I am jealous of those who can.”
The exhibition is organized by the Paul Guiragossian Foundation that was initiated in 2011 by Guiragossian’s wife and five children to protect and promote the legacy of the artist. Manuella Guiragossian, exhibition advisor and daughter of the late artist added: “Combining the substantial archival materials that the Foundation has assembled over the years with the vision of the curators, this retrospective will emphasize important aspects of his life and writing that will shed new light on his pivotal position within the art history of the region and beyond.”
On commenting about the retrospective, Randa Armanazi, Solidere’s PR and Communications director said: “The Beirut Exhibition Centre is especially proud to host this exhibition about such a seminal artist. We look forward to welcoming the public on the opening night where they will discover a major reconfiguration of the BEC galleries reflecting the exciting vision of this show.”
Paul Guiragossian: The Human Conditionis accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. A comprehensive monograph on the artist, authored by the curators, will be published in 2014.
For press inquiries, high-resolution images and further information please contact: