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Details & Cataloguing

Boundless: Dubai

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Dubai

Fouad Elkoury
B.1945
LEBANESE
SHERIHAN (FROM THE EGYPTIAN CINEMA SERIES)
silver bromide print 
65 by 91cm.; 25 1/4 by 35 7/8 in.
Executed in 1987, this work is from an edition of 13 plus 2 artist's proofs and was printed in 2001-2002.
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Provenance

Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2010 

Catalogue Note

According to renowned theoretician, Susan Sontag, “the painter constructs, the photographer discloses.” In a postcolonial context, Lebanese photographers working during and after the civil war sought to rebrand the medium, disentangling the medium from its web of colonial dogma. Many contemporary Lebanese artists, such as Lamia Joreige, Walid Raad and Lina Saneh, opt for photography, video, and live performance to illustrate the visceral memory of such a disastrous event. Originally posited by Cornell Professor Cathy Caruth but more true than ever in the case of Lebanese art, “trauma is not locatable in the simple violent or original event in an individual’s past, but rather in the way that its very unassimilated nature – the way it was precisely not known in the first instance – returns to haunt the survivor later on.”

The rise of a Lebanese cinematic tradition became a unifying tool during these years. Famed filmmakers and photographers like Fouad El-Khoury as well as Joceyln Saab and Maroun Bagdadi turned their lenses toward Middle Eastern icons. These pioneers uplifted region-specific actors, scenes and traditions that were unique or important to the Lebanese cultural landscape at this time. In the present print, Fouad El-Khoury captures the illustrious Egyptian actress and singer, Sherihan. Pictured here in black and white, seated with her lips slightly parted and eyes transfixed, Sherihan is spellbound as she gazes toward the foreground. A woman who is usually the object of the eye, is now part of the audience. El-Khoury manipulates the gaze of the viewer, who paradoxically becomes the star of the screen. Oddly, the actress is in an empty theatre. The theatre, a place ordinarily associated with collective gathering, is shown here as an isolating experience; undoubtedly serving as an allegory of the Lebanese War. Sherihan looks on in amazement, watching and waiting as the viewer does. El-Khoury’s Sherihan eludes understanding, and leaves the viewer wondering whether we are complicit in this considered act of looking, or whether we are simply blind to the action on stage or screen.

Boundless: Dubai

|
Dubai