Rayanne Tabet exhibition to transform Mudam Luxembourg's I.M. Pei pavilion

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Rayanne Tabet exhibition to transform Mudam Luxembourg's I.M. Pei pavilion
Installation view of Rayyane Tabet: The Return, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut/Hamburg. Photo: Walid Rashid.

LONDON.- Introducing A Model, Rayyane Tabet (b. 1983, Ashqout, Lebanon) was invited to conceive a site-specific project for the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion. An architect by training, the artist attaches great importance to the context in which his projects are embedded. His installations consider the historical framework of the architecture of the museum, revealing its particularities alongside its contradictions.

Tabet’s body of work builds upon the analysis of sociocultural contexts, combining historical and subjective memory to offer an alternative reading to the official narrative of his object of study and open it up to new meanings. For the pavilion, the artist devised Trilogy, an installation that unfolds around pivotal moments of contemporary and Luxembourg history in dialogue with his personal memory.

This installation includes Sanatorium Paimio (bedroom furniture), a central work of the Mudam Collection conceived by architect Alvar Aalto between 1930 and 1933. Emblematic of functionalist research and humanist thinking, Aalto designed the bedroom furniture to contribute to well- being and recovery.

Transforming the pavilion’s walkway, Tabet installs translucent curtains originating from his grandparents’ 1950s apartment in Beirut. The artist highlights the signature architectural style of its architect Ieoh Ming Pei, characterised by glass-paned surfaces, as symbolic of openness and an era marked by progress and prosperity by inserting personal memory into Mudam’s building. In contrast, the pavilion’s glass roof panels are covered with a blue film in reference to the camouflage techniques used by residents of Beirut during the 1967 Six-Day War. Rendering Mudam’s interior invisible from above, the artist sets Sanatorium Paimio (bedroom furniture) in an infinite twilight.

Lastly, in the lower floor of the pavilion the artist references the 2020 Beirut explosion, exhibiting a series of jugs made from glass fragments retrieved onsite following the blast, envisioning a symbolic repair.

Rayyane Tabet (b. 1983, Ashqout, Lebanon) has had solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2021), Sharjah Art Foundation (2021), Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York (2020), Parasol Unit Foundation of Contemporary Art, London (2019), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019), Musée du Louvre, Paris (2019), Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes (2018) and at the Kunstverein in Hamburg (2017). He took part in numerous international group shows, among which In the Heart of Another Country: The Diasporic Imagination Rises, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE (2023), Machinations, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain, the Whitney Biennial (2022), the 7th Yokohama Triennial (2020), the 2nd Lahore Biennial (2020), the 21st Sydney Biennial (2018), Manifesta 12 (2018), the 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017), the 32nd Sao Paolo Biennial (2016) and the 10th and 12th Sharjah Biennial (2011, 2015). Rayyane Tabet lives and w rks between Beirut and San Francisco.

Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
Rayyane Tabet: A Model opens with Prelude – Rayyane Tabet. Trilogy
December 1st, 2023 – May 12th, 2024
Curators: Bettina Steinbrügge, with Sarah Beaumont, Clément Minighetti and Joel Valabrega

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