18 November 2007

Beirut Assemblage

Help title these paintings! More accurately, offer a theme that each painting will specifically address.

After my third Land Memory series, Land Memory Rebirth, I am now addressing Beirut as a subject for painting, through a psycho-emotional exploration of a series of identity issues, related to how we view Beirut as a place, a psyche, a dream, a history, etc..


Before I begin discussing this series, I would like to say that it is just as much a series of paintings as it is an assemblage of many paintings combined into one painting. I have no good reason why I did this. I have some idea; perhaps I wanted to attack the whole subject at once, attack all aspects of it from all sides, so that I can finish with it and get back to the Land Memory paintings. But Beirut proved to be too difficult for me to take on and finish off, just as it did with countless armies before me. This series is going to haunt me, and provide me with much work, for some time to come.

I started by assembling 13 canvases together: one 24x24 inch, one 6x12 inch, three 10x10 inch, three 6x6 inch, and five 4x4 inch canvases.


The initial sketch of the entire assemblage, above, was based loosely on a series of drawings that I did on my 2004 visit to Lebanon. Actually, the majority of these drawings were done during my Lebanon visit, with a small number done in the weeks before I left for Lebanon, in emotional anticipation of what I would find. Thus the themes for the various panels in the assemblage:





1: Beirut the Memory
2: Beirut the Dream
3: Beirut the Lie

1, 2 and 3 are based loosely on three drawings that I did one week before I arrived in Beirut.

4: Beirut the ...
5: Beirut the ...
6: Beirut the ...
7: Beirut the ...
8: Beirut the ...
9: Beirut the ...
10: Beirut the ...
11: Beirut the Sea
12: Beirut the ...
13: Beirut the ...

4-12: these painting are based on drawings that I did after arriving in Beirut, as my eyes and veins took in the city; from the chaos of city planning (or lack thereof,) to the invisible, deep-rooted soul that lies beneath the soil, despite years of colonialist influence, to the ever-present upheaval that defines daily life: the tumultuous voices of the people, the resentful waves of the sea, the whispering spirits in the air.

#13: This panel is more related, visually, to my Land Memory series than to my Beirut Assemblage, but I needed to add it here to address the subject of Beirut as primordial land in its purest form, before (or after?) human influence.

#1, 2, 3 and #11 are the only ones with titles, all others are yet to be named. This is where readers of this blog can help, but must consider the information I've provided before suggesting titles.

Each panel, through an emotional exploration of form, color and image is to address an aspect of how we see Beirut.

Below is where the series stands as of now. All panels are unfinished.



I have begun to take apart the assemblage to paint each piece separately. Each individual panel will be considered separately as a composition, but at the same time, all must fit together as one composition. I am also considering exhibiting the 13 panels with a little bit of margin between them, as presented below. What do you think?


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6 comments:

Khawwta said...

I'ts really amazing ya IBJ.. you are so talented, I impressed

poshlemon said...

Ibn Bint Jbeil,

your work is beautiful and extremely creative. I loved most of the panels not only because I could relate to them but also because many exhibit a great deal of rationale in the choice of colors and composition. I would definitely encourage you to exhibit them with a margin between them but maybe a smaller margin than here. I was able to relate all panels to one whole conglomeration but at the same time view each panel, although as part of a whole, also on its own with its inherent characteristics, thoughts, emotions, etc.

I would love to offer some titles but I have to say that, no matter how much I try to read on your influence and background, I offer them from my subjective view. I think you would be the better judge. Sometimes giving a title to something is very difficult.,. I think maybe you should go back yo each one of them and remember why it was painted, in what manner, what image, what thought...

My very humble suggestions: #13 definitely provokes the memory and I think I would have given it the title "Beirut the Memory" whereas #1 would've been "Beirut the Chaos". #12 I see it as "Beirut the City" or "Beirut the Metropolis". #4,#5,#6,#7: "Beirut the Stride"... they invoked in me images of walking in Beirut's streets, quarters and even beaches. #9 & #10 somehow remind me of Martyr's Square...

:)

Sophia said...

It's always great to visit your blog. I would group the panels in a triptych with three time periods, anticipation, actual meeting with Beyrouth, and afterthoughts, with a sense of progression in emotions and poerceptions.

poshlemon said...

Sophia,

I am jealous. Your idea is better than mine! hehe. Just a bit, not too much ;)

Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

khawwta, thanks, you're too kind.

posh and sophia,
i think the smaller margin idea is definitely going to happen. as far as the titling, maybe i was trying to get too ahead of myself, (as usual in my life;) because many of the panels are unfinished, i thought that brainstorming specific themes/titles for each individual panel would help finish them. but alas, i think i have to just get down to it and paint them, and discover them as i go along. i do like your suggestions, though; i will work with some of them and see what i come up with.

the mediator said...

i love this (with the borders) and love that you put up the process. I think it's lovely to see works coming to life rather than just 'meeting' the final piece which was edited and 'polished'. I also agree about waiting till the names come to you. I always think the name or power of the work dictates itself upon us. If no name arrives, then maybe that is fate. Hehehehe, that sounds a bit dramatic! Again, thanks for the comment and will enjoy seeing your updates. i'll let you know when the final pseudo-remmaineh is done :).