Lamia Joreige lives and works in Beirut, LB
History—its fissures, contradictions, fictions—is the animating conceit of Lamia Joreige’s protean body of work. Across video, painting, installation, and text, she nimbly conjures the collision of private and collective narratives in her home country of Lebanon. In Objects of War, an unabashedly iconic video series she launched in 1999, interview subjects revisit their experiences of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90) through motley totemic objects (a Panasonic radio, a Miss Piggy backpack, a perfume bottle). In Beirut, Autopsy of a City (2010), Joreige charts the poetics of the past, present, and afterlife before a backdrop of persistent political turmoil. (The wide-ranging installation climaxes with a post- apocalyptic future in which the city has been erased from existence—why, and by whom, unknown.) In the feature-length film And the Living Is Easy (2014), five nonprofessional actors embody their vexed relationships to Beirut, a geography that attracts and repels in equal measure.
Since 2013, Joreige has trained her gaze on the river that dramatizes and enacts Beirut’s storied divisions, the river known to the ancient Greeks as Magoras, a physical and psychic container for myriad histories: Phoenician, Roman, Ottoman, French, and sundry others. In the video After the River (2016), her camera pans over its liquid expanse, capturing the hum of daily traffic, the informal markets, and the ballet of construction cranes, as real estate speculation and gentrification rewrite the history of the neighborhood anew. Inflected by cascading interests, politics, and desires, the river becomes a metaphor for the impossibility of writing a monolithic history. Mercurial by nature, what could its representation be but a failure?
When the image is new, the world is new, 2020, Marfa’ Projects, Beirut (LB)
A Stitch in Time, 2019, Today Art Museum, Beijing (CN)
Liverpool Biennial 2018: Beautiful world, where are you?, 2018, Liverpool (UK)
Under-Writing Beirut, 2017, Marfa’ Projects, Beirut (LB) (solo)
And the living is easy. Variations on a film, 2016, Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône (FR) (solo)