Project Space / Fouad Elkoury, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
The Last Straw
21 November 2020
On August 4, 2020, a huge explosion devastated the Lebanese capital of Beirut. The historic city was left in chaos, with shattered glass and debris covering the streets. In solidarity with Lebanon, The Third Line is proud to present The Last Straw, a presentation of artworks by Fouad Elkoury and Joana Hadjithomas, and Khalil Joreige with a selection of their works that feature Beirut at their core. This exhibition explores themes that are vital to understanding the context of Beirut and Lebanon, such as architecture, history, memory, and cultural identity. They also share the common thread of preserving the country's history through their individual ways, while responding to its very complex political landscape.
Fouad Elkoury’s photographs taken between 1982 and 1995 look at the recurring imagery of destruction and abandoned urban spaces as a testimony to the devastating realities of war-torn Beirut. Fouad’s multi-faceted photographic oeuvre combined with the violence of the narrative which slowly begins to fade into the background and gives way to the artist’s wistful longing for remembrance; proposing a reconsideration on the notion of inhabitation, its disruption, and its transition from hospitable into hostile. They reveal the consequences of an assault on the domestic. These works are particularly poignant as the recent explosion caused city-wide damages that resembled those of the war.
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s ‘Trilogies’ are part of their ongoing ‘Unconformities’ project which has developed over several stages. Since 2014, the artists have been collecting a series of core samples that reveal the subterranean worlds of three cities omnipresent in their lives: Beirut, Paris, and Athens. These works on paper contain photographs of the cores, partially illustrated, proposing possible histories for the different strata contained within the samples.
Most of all, these works make the deterioration of cities felt and stress the effects of time and memory, both the collective memory of a city and personal memories of the artists.