Galerie Janine Rubeiz’s exhibit “On Fleeting Grounds” gives us a moment to stop and react to the rapid transformation of Beirut. The massive number of construction projects sweeping over the city has meant that much is being demolished with a heavy loss of the cities architectural heritage.
With the feeling of there being little left to do these emerging photographers took to the streets with their cameras; Engaging with the subject visually by marking traces of these changes and of what may soon be no more.
Maroun: “Today a fast construction movement is invading Beirut. Streets are changing, open spaces are closing, and I have no time to assimilate so much change. Earth is ripped out, dug and reshaped. Fascinated by the underground, I understand the ephemeral side of those open sites and I am seized by an urgent need to shoot these instants when earth indecently exposes its open belly.”
Ghaddar: “Beirut has been assaulted by surges of degradation. Traces of war animate its spaces turning them monumental. Ambitious reconstruction projects have been invading its every corner and are slowly defacing the city. We are at the verge of an immense takeover.
While processing the photograph, my work consists of forcing as much brightness as possible from what seemed to be a burnt image. The visible pixels were meant to emulate the actual dust that occupies the site. Yet, my intention is not to magnify the extent of degradation of this ruined place, but rather purify the image from the residues of reality.”
Arzoumanian: “This project was conceived abroad, in my distress of knowing the Asfourieh, Beirut’s former insane asylum, meant to be destroyed and transformed into a big residential and commercial complex. I was haunted by this race against time and against the devastating machine of real estate, who was imposing its one-sided rules in tis eastern suburb of Beirut, Hazmieh, where I grew up.
In my urge to recompose memories and phantasmagorias mounted during my childhood years, I broke in. And shot and shot, frenetically documenting every bit of space.”