From Classical to Kitsch (Beirut Art Fair 2017)
The artists selected for our booth “Classical to Kitsch” open up the possibility for a lively dialogue between past and present. With a sense of courageousness and playfulness, seriousness and comedy, these artists travel space time to graft the archaic and theatrical into the present. Faisel Laibi’s erotic, whimsical works draw from Arab folkloric imagery and Classical Orientalism traversing the perverse line between voyeur and viewed. Leila Kubba Kawash unearths Minoan myths that deal with the relationship between the feminine and the Taurine, grafting the Goddess into contemporary reality. Maria Kassab reinvents the language of Renaissance painting, re-ordering limbs and parts to reveal a grotesqueness which speaks to our current political situation. Ameera Kawash piece reimagines the form of the Water Bearer in a digital realm. Pau Marinello is a student of Classical and Academic schools of painting; he uses his brush to reinvent the language of the painters of the past. Cords connecting past and present address the dualism of gender form the basis of Noor Haydar's piece. With vivacity, humor and sophisticated self-presentation, these works create new modalities of expression and ritual, using the classical and the kitsch as organizing principles that help bring us closer to the original. As Susan Sontag puts it “camp taste transcends the nausea of the replica”.