Under the auspices of the Embassy of Italy in Lebanon, the Italian Cultural Institute in Beirut and the Turin-based Merz Foundation have joined up in presenting the exhibition “Hopes & Doubts – Young Art in Italy and Lebanon”. After Beirut, where the show was on from 20 to 23 December 1008, it will be on at the Merz Foundation in Turin from 22 January to 1 March 2009.
The exhibition, curated by Costantino D’Orazio and created in collaboration with Rome’s “5 Sensi”, aims to build an imaginary bridge between the Italian and Lebanese art scenes through the works of eight Italian artists (Elisabetta Di Maggio, Andrea Saldino, Luisa Rabbia, Marzia Migliora, Giuseppa Pietrniro, Elisabetta Benassi, Francesco Gennari, Michele Fliri) and eight Libanese artists (Randa Mirza, Rima Saab, Joanne Issa, Ginou Choueiri, Lina Hakim, Marwan Rechmaoui, Zena Khalil, Pascal Hachem) whose views of the world are united by a shared inquiring attitude.
Despite the diversity that marks their histories, Italy and Lebanon share an approach in all spheres of creativity and, when it comes to contemporary art, Beirut is a torrent of pure energy. The exhibition of these 16 emerging Italian and Lebanese artists illustrates one of the most interesting and unexplored Mediterranean art scenes. Despite the current situation, Lebanese artists perceive Beirut as an incredible source of inspiration for their work, where the Italians attempt to raise issues in order to provoke a public reaction. Lebanon, one of the Mediterranean’s most vivacious and interesting countries, exists in a constant state of uncertainty regarding security. This situation, in which doubt is the most frequent state of mind, puts Lebanon on a par with an entire generation of artists, who are spurred on a global scale by the same inquiring gaze toward the future. The Exhibition “Hopes & Doubts” offers a reflection on the precariousness and uncertainty of the future that extends from Lebanon’s political condition to the existential condition of an entire generation.
For this reason the “Hopes & Doubts” project provides a real possibility for exchange among the artists of two Mediterranean countries, inviting Italians to discover one of the Middle East’s most interesting contexts, and allowing Lebanese to enjoy one of Europe’s most active contemporary art scenes: the city of Turin. The places chosen for mounting the exhibitions, both in Italy and in Lebanon, were also highly significant: in Beirut in the Dome City Center, a former cinema in ruins that was occupied by snipers during the civil war; and in Turin the works will dialogue with the installations by Mario and Marisa Merz inside the former Lancia automobile factory.
The artists were selected for a consonance of theme and language that allows their works to be viewed side by side in an ideal duet.