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MOUNIRA AL SOLH TAKES OVER LEBANON PAVILION AT LA BIENNALE ARTE 2024 WITH A MAJOR MULTIMEDIA INSTALLATION


The Lebanese Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, has inaugurated “A Dance with her Myth”, a major multimedia installation by artist Mounira Al Solh. Commissioner and Curator Nada Ghandour.

The inauguration was held in the presence of the ambassador of Lebanon to Italy H.E. Mrs. Mira Daher, the UAE Minister of Culture, H.E. Mr. Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, the Commissioner and Curator of the Pavilion Nada Ghandour, the artist Mounira Al Solh, the architect-scenographer Karim Bekdache, the associate curator Dina Bizri, the gallerist of the artist and founder of Sfeir-Semler gallery, Andrée Sfeir-Semler, officials and representatives of partner institutions, as well as many Lebanese and friends of Lebanon.

Placed under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and organized and produced by the Lebanese Visual Art Association (LVAA), the Pavilion of Lebanon invited Mounira Al Solh (Beirut, 1978) to create a bridge between myth and reality within its walls in the Arsenale.

Her
extensive multimedia installation “A Dance with her Myth”, composed of 41 pieces-drawings, paintings, sculptures, embroideries, and video-is spread across the 180 square meters Pavilion. Revisiting the myth of the rapt of Europa, the artist offers a perspective on the aspirations and challenges faced by women today. On canvas, paper, and screen, her creative process combines allegorical narrative with a documentary approach, appropriation with diversion, and gives realistic, poetic, and very contemporary representations.

Representing the Lebanese Minister of Culture, Judge Mohammad Wissam al-Mortada, Nada Ghandour conveyed his message at the opening ceremony: “In Lebanon, we recognize the importance of international cultural events in promoting mutual respect and understanding. Our Pavilion, positioned in the heart of the Arsenale, is an occasion to celebrate the power of art as a universal language. It is also an opportunity for our artists to engage with a global audience and foster cultural exchange. We a
re honored to be part of this esteemed event and to highlight the vibrant cultural scene in Lebanon.”

During her speech, Nada Ghandour stated: “The 2024 Lebanese Pavilion is a space celebrating emancipation, freedom, solidarity, and gender equality. It serves as a platform for bold dialogue across time, in a country that is more resilient than ever. The Pavilion of Lebanon presents this exhibition to the public, aiming to nurture the collective social and political awareness through the transformative power of art”.

The artist Mounira Al Solh declared: “The installation I created for the Pavilion of Lebanon is very much connected to the Mediterranean whether it is in the use of references to history, use of imagery, or color. There are a large number of references to our history and in particular to elements from Phoenician times. They are both recognizable and also vital to our history”.

A Dance with her Myth is set up around a boat, inviting visitors on a symbolic journey of emancipation and gender equal
ity. Its unfinished structure indicates that the journey is not fully completed. The itinerary of the installation is rooted in a power play. In the center, the skiff is located half-way between the paintings and the graphic works that advocate the questioning of gender norms and the struggle for equality, and the masks embody the conservative forces of society. The objects present in the space also play a role in the 12-minute film projected on the boat’s sail-screen.

Mounira Al Solh’s drawings constitute the narrative of the central pattern developed in the paintings which defy traditional iconography. Transposition, deviation, and distortion are the tools used in the artist’s strategy. Various archetypical figures of Phoenician culture or of mythology populate, in an explosive and at times comical way, an intermediary world between allegory and reality. The temporality of A Dance with her Myth is not that of the myth, but that of the artist in dialogue with the viewer, here and now.

The scenography, desi
gned by the architect Karim Bekdache, with no reorganization or partitioning of the space, allows a total immersion in the display. It contributes to a progression towards an endless horizon painted in blue-grey-the color of the sea and the skies of Tyre-as well as the long, winding pontoon that crosses the Pavilion from side to side, and creates the link between land and sea. The encounter between the works and the visitor occurs throughout the visit.

Source: National news agency – Lebanon