Marwan Rechmaoui approaches the methodical study of cartography and urbanisation through works tempered by sensuality and wit. Rechmaoui’s work Blue Building (2015) emerged from an experience with Beirut’s fast-paced real estate development, which arrived at a plot of land across the river from Rechmaoui’s studio. While observing the building’s construction, the artist learned that the development existed in a semi-legal, lax state, in which surrounding trees were cleared without permission and recently arrived refugees were employed as low-wage labourers. As with much new construction in the city, the entire operation was so hastily conceived that when winter rains arrived, the hillside was simply covered with a blue tarp in order to stave off a likely landslide.
The artist references Beirut’s new mise en scène in his composite work of panels that mimic the ubiquitous steel rebar and concrete construction. A play on the hillside developments that have become common in the city, the panels are presented leaning against the wall, featuring an industrial palette of grey and rust accented by a skirt of royal blue.
This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 13.
Concrete, iron, nylon, soil, Styrofoam
270 x 360 cm
Courtesy of the artist