Marwan Rechmaoui Blue Building, 2015 Concrete, iron, nylon, soil, Styrofoam 270 x 360 cm Courtesy of the artist

Overview

Sharjah Art Foundation presents Slanted Squares, a solo exhibition of the work of Marwan Rechmaoui organised by the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht, the Netherlands, in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation. Recipient of the 2019 Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (BACA), Rechmaoui uses industrial materials such as concrete, rubber, tar and glass to investigate the role of demographics and urbanisation within the complex cultural dynamics and history of Beirut.

Curated by Zeynep Öz, the exhibition brings together three bodies of Rechmaoui’s work. He documents history through physical construction sites and foundational structures, and he uses these spaces to generate metaphors for processes that take place as part of the archaeology of a city, such as digging, excavating, stabilising and possibly rebuilding.

‘The Buildings’ series is an ongoing project consisting of five sculptures, each referencing buildings in Lebanon that exist in a state of suspension. The buildings are either unfinished or currently being used for functions other than those originally intended. The second series, ‘Pillars’, was started in 2014 at the beginning of the Syrian war, when media coverage provoked feelings in Rechmaoui that he associated with Beirut 20 years earlier. The large-scale works simultaneously reference the corruption of foundations as well as inhabitants’ experience of abandonment. The last series, begun at the end of 2018 and still ongoing, is ‘Tapestries’, which uses repeating standard 5 x 5 cm building units to form new compositions and introduce narratives of construction, destruction, disruption and continuity.

Slanted Squares is on view in Maastricht from 23 May to 8 September 2019 before travelling to Sharjah Art Foundation, where it will run from 2 November 2019 to 2 February 2020.