Listen to the article

With its exhibition In the Hollow of Chaos, the Janine Rubeiz Gallery invites us to discover the astonishing universe of Bassam Geitani from March 6 to April 5, 2024.

Bassam Geitani, a Lebanese artist, participated in several group exhibitions in Beirut, Paris, London and Washington. His works are now part of private collections in Lebanon, France and the British Museum. With his paintings and installations of immaculate whiteness, Geitani immediately immerses us in an end-of-the-world setting, reminiscent of the effects produced by the explosion on August 4, 2020, in Beirut.

The artist’s blank canvases testify to the interstellar void, the gaping holes in body and soul caused by this disaster that swept away a whole swath of our lives and history. The artist’s works describe this absurd crossroads between the before and after, referring to the work of philosopher Gaston Bachelard entitled The Moment of Nothingness, that fateful instant when the world plunges into chaos, erasing in one stroke the cultural identity of a city and its people.

The artworks titled Blown Canvas and Rear Window, in homage to Hitchcock’s film, recall the apocalyptic vision seen through the window before the final explosion. The canvases are thus torn, scratched and plowed by the artist, echoing the physical and emotional wounds experienced on both a collective and individual level. The artist cuts up his canvas and reattaches the pieces to the frame in a symbolic gesture that recalls our lives being shredded by the devastating blast. He thus creates a striking visual and emotional impact through the wall installation.

Through this committed approach, Bassam Geitani gathers glass debris, concrete, metal fragments and shreds of clothing, making them the raw material of his work so that these residues bear witness to the scars of history. These snippets of memories imprint their indelible mark on the canvas, akin to pieces of evidence used to reconstruct the scene of a crime.

The artist undoubtedly wants to awaken us from our numbness, make us aware of the consequences of the tragedy, and encourage us to remember in order to prevent a similar future and build a better tomorrow. He thus urges us to arm ourselves with these fragments of life, sad trophies of the inflicted suffering, to turn them into elements of resistance that allow us to transcend the trauma.

In his painting titled Ballet of Wrinkles, he encourages us to join the dance of resilience, to dig deep within ourselves, to find again the vital energy and creative power. The artist’s white canvas thus opens a new page to facilitate the transformation conducive to reconstruction and rebirth. It invites us to turn scratches and wrinkles into a redeeming pen to rewrite history as a work of art.

Discover this fascinating white universe until April 5, 2024.