press release

Rayyane Tabet. FRAGMENTS
26.04.2018 - 04.08.2018
Opening: 26.04.2018 19:00 - 21:00

Sfeir-Semler Gallery is proud to bring to Beirut FRAGMENTS, a solo show by RAYYANE TABET.

We will also be hosting on Saturday, April 28th from 11:00 AM a reading by the artist, a roundtable conversation with Kim Benzel & Clare Davies, curators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Bettina Steinbrügge, director of Kunstverein in Hamburg. Kaph books will be launching FRAGMENTS / BRUCHSTÜCKE published in collaboration with Kunstverein, Hamburg, and DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Program.

Rayyane Tabet exhibited with us for the first time in 2006 as part of the the group show Moving Homes. He had his first solo at the gallery in Beirut in 2013: The Shortest Distance Between Two Points, followed by Only Gods Never Die at the gallery in Hamburg in 2015.

FRAGMENTS explores an archeological dig led by Max von Oppenheim, a German diplomat and ancient historian, in Tell Halaf, Northeast Syria, at the turn of the 20th century. The project stemmed from a performance presented at the 2016 Marrakech Biennale, and evolved through a residency at the DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Program, and a show at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. The completed project was presented in Tabet’s first major institutional solo at the Kunstverein in Hamburg in November 2017.

In 1929 Tabet’s great-grandfather, Faik Borcoche, was appointed by the governing authorities of the French Mandate stationed in Beirut as von Oppenheim’s secretary to gather information on the excavations the latter was conducting in the village of Tell Halaf in Syria. This encounter leads Tabet to uncover a story that connects his family to major historical figures. He raises questions on the survival of heirlooms, the preservation of archeological artifacts, cultural appropriation, museological practices, and migration patterns.

Rayyane Tabet is an artist who conveys complex ideas and powerful emotions through form and material. With each project, he reinvents his working techniques, bringing together unrelated facts that result in unexpected stories. FRAGMENTS includes a performance, drawings, sculptures, personal belongings and ready-mades which, together, become a multifaceted large installation. Against the backdrop of complex contemporary geopolitics, Tabet reconstructs the material remains of the Tell Halaf temple, tracks stone reliefs scattered in museums around the world, and assembles carpet fragments. Following the deconstruction and reconstruction of remains through the accidents of history, across time, generations and continents, the show draws on autobiographical notes and self-directed research, to explore stories that offer an alternative understanding of major events through individual narratives.

Rayyane Tabet (b. 1983, Achqout, Lebanon) lives and works in Beirut. He received a Bachelor in Architecture from The Cooper Union in New York and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of California in San Diego.

He has had solo shows at Kunstverein in Hamburg (2017), daadgalerie, Berlin (2017), Witte de With center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2017), Museo Marino Marini, Florence (2016) and TROUW Amsterdam (2014). His work has featured in the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018), the 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017), the 32nd São Paulo Biennial (2016), the 6th Marrakech Biennale (2016), the 10th & 12th Sharjah Biennial (2011 & 2015), and the 2nd New Museum Triennial (2012).
He is the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award of the Sharjah Biennial (2011), the Jury Prize of the Future Generation Art Prize (2012) and the Abraaj Group Art Prize (2013).