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ARP Talks | Marwan Rechmaoui: On Guarding Neighborhoods

Sursock Museum
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ARP Talks: Marwan Rechmaoui
On Guarding Neighborhoods and their Inhabitants
In partnership with ARP–ALBA-University of Balamand
Thursday 19 April, 19:00 to 20:30
Auditorium, Level -2
In English
Free admission

In this talk, artist Marwan Rechmaoui discusses his most recent work, Blazon (2015). Blazon stems from research conducted by Rechmaoui ten years prior for Beirut Caoutchouc (2004), in which he read the records of every neighborhood in Beirut in order to understand how they developed.

Constantly evolving, Beirut is friendly and hospitable but also filled with tensions on the social, economical, and political levels. Its inhabitants are always “on guard” – ready for something to happen – and gaps between different neighborhoods are becoming wider with rising pressures.

Deriving inspiration from the geography and rich cultural history of Beirut, Marwan Rechmaoui’s work often reflects themes of urbanization and contemporary social and behavioral demographics. He uses industrial materials such as concrete, rubber, tar, and glass to create large-scale tactile works. His works focus on local landmarks, as seen in the work Beirut Caoutchouc (2004), a sprawling map of Beirut made of black rubber and embossed with precise details of roads and byways. Other works include Spectre (2006), a reproduction of the modernist Yacoubian Building, and A Monument for the Living (2001), a large-scale architectural model of the derelict Burj Al Murr, a never-completed, abandoned 1970s high-rise, which towers over downtown Beirut.