The exhibition features recent works by Simone Fattal including sculpture, simple non-figurative ceramic forms and works based in textual compositions, collage as well as paintings. Her exploration of artistic medium and source material are paralleled in her equally expansive preoccupations with war, its socio-political contexts, time and ancient history.
The visceral qualities of clay—its seemingly primordial fragility, malleability and strength—provide the artist a medium through which she can trace the past into the present. She situates herself along a continuum of linked images, histories and consequences that she feels to be present in her psyche, and by extension in her work.
In this presentation, Fattal’s paintings pursue variations of colour and the passage of time. The earlier paintings explore Beirut’s Mount Sannine, depicting the white and pink tonalities during and after sunset. The other series of paintings, created almost 35 years later, captures the mutable blacks and whites of the night sky.
The exhibition also presents a selection of Fattal’s works that incorporate texts from varied sources including the works of Sufi writers, writings from the Quran and the Hadith and ancient epics, from which she often draws the mythic figures referenced in her work.
The artist’s two ‘Warrior’ sculptures found in the courtyard, Zhat El Himma and Abdel Wahab (2006), are based on two mythic heroes of the Sira, from an epic of the same name, widely unknown even in the Arab World. These large standing figures are representative of those who must continually endure war and struggle and are also indicative of the artist’s larger preoccupation with the socio-political conditions in the Middle East, particularly during times the artist refers to as ‘fundamental upheavals’. It is especially in these moments that Fattal finds the need to preserve and shed light on the ancient past.