The Lebanese “Tanit” gallery opened an exhibition in mid-April that combines the world of pure art and the art of interior design. It is a collective exhibition that has brought together the festival of innovations by art designers, most of them Lebanese, all centered around the chair in its many possible and unlikely forms.
The exhibition, which is on display at the Lebanese Gallery in Beirut, is entitled “Ita de Siage”. The literal translation of this title is “State of Siege.” However, the translation, or direct arabisation of this title is not correct in terms of what it means or what the exhibition includes, but it is a clever title because it plays on the historical background of the word “chair” in the foreign language , i.e. “chirp” of the word “katirda” meaning “siege”. Is not a chair, a sofa, a couch or other things a siege and a solid polygonal fence that surrounds the seated person, regardless of his identity? The governor has a chair, and the student has a chair, and the heroes of horror movies have other chairs that do not look like the chairs whose sizes have been magically changed, reduced, or enlarged, in Alice in Wonderland.
Ceramics attended strongly along with wood and cement. Also attended were colors ranging from the most explosive to the darkest black
The exhibition, held by Tanit Gallery, is one of his artistic activities that took place on the sidelines of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the hall in Munich, Germany, and 15 years since its opening in Beirut.
The Lebanese artist and engineer, Rabih Koussa, designed an artistic scenography of the venue for the presentation of the different designs, which differed greatly in how it was implemented, but also in the logic that placed their origins on paper before after its implementation has been referred. . According to Joy Mardini, a strong supporter of Lebanese interior design and the godfather of this exhibition, “it came with a high level of artistry that was able to compensate for the shortage of industrial and natural materials not available in Lebanon and it in a clear creative force. “
The viewer’s attention was drawn to the materials used in the designs and how they were shaped, especially in that presented by Carlos Masoud, who showed a bench made of ropes by a group of blind craftsmen before putting it on a delicate metal base is cast. Ceramics were also strongly attended, along with wood and cement. Also attended were colors ranging from the most explosive to pitch black.
There is no doubt that this exhibition is of additional importance because it evokes Beirut and its traditional homes and of the atmosphere of its furniture that was designed and implemented from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the seventies of the twentieth century, and which was completely damaged or destroyed as a result of the double explosion of August 4 in the year 2020. It is noteworthy that the hall has a design Architect Maurice Bonfils, father of designer Jean-Marc Bonfils, who died in the explosion.
The press release accompanying the exhibition also explains that it includes’ a large number of designs of chairs and seats made by 20 Lebanese designers, inspired by the development of the design world that Lebanon has seen from 1960 to the present day.
Among the Lebanese artists and designers we mention George Mohaseb, Sami El Khazen, Thomas Trad, Aya Saleh, Joe Noman, Sarah Jarrar, Marilyn Massoud, Carla Paz, Bernard Khoury and Marc Baroud.
It is noteworthy that the poster announcing this event is in itself a work of art that is no less important than what was present in the heart of the hall. At first glance, the viewer will see a group of red “birds” on terraces of very light color, and they are adjacent to each other without converging in rooms open to each other. After a careful look, the spectator discovers that the “sitting” birds he saw are nothing but chairs, and that the cement rooms are nothing but platforms reminiscent of the art of “origami” performed on paper.
This poster not only creates tension in the mind of the viewer, but also prepares the viewer that from what he will see inside the hall is not completely suitable for use, simply because it does not meet the most important need of any chair , which is to be at least comfortable.
This brings us to two worlds: the first is the world of fashion design, and the second is the world of plastic art. As we know that many of the most famous fashion houses hold seasonal parties in which they display clothes that can not be worn, or rather, “unfit to wear” as much as it is an opportunity to harness the artistic creativity of the home to exhibit. .
As for the other world to which the exhibition poster refers, it opens up two worlds: The first is the world of conceptual art, which has historically dealt with the theme or the single chair, far from a piece of furniture to present specifically. ideas This work represents 74 chairs that rotate around each other to form a planet, or a single celestial body that gathers around a void that seemed so gravitational that it prevented the chairs from falling and moving away from it.
As for the second, subworld, it is the world of plastic art that could shorten people by drawing their chairs in a specific shape because it suits them or “likes them.” We mention here, for example, what the artist Vincent van Gogh painted: Paul Gauguin’s chair is relatively luxurious compared to the modest straw chair that the artist painted as his chair. In this, without a doubt, proof of the artist’s admiration and interest in Gauguin, who regarded him as a friend and teacher.
It is noteworthy that the exhibition “State of Siege” will continue until the twenty-fifth of next June at the “Tanit” gallery.