Text by Marie Muracciole
Translated to english by Ziad M.Nawfal
Beirut Art Center

Exposure 2014

Under Construction


In the next room, two large compositions on paper by Hiba Kalache face one another on either side of a wall, where various smaller drawings are freely associated; they exist independent of one another, but acquire additional meaning through the order assigned to them by the artist. Each smaller print contaminates its surrounding, or intersects with the echoes and relationships created around it. This arrangement provides an adequate description of Hiba Kalache’s working method, as it displays the processes of development and synthesis underlying the entirety of her work; the latter emerges in the preparation of larger prints: a world of material shifts, layers, connections and occlusions constitutes these surfaces. They exist by way of sedimentation, in successive elaborations that eventually cancel each other out; but no stratum disappears entirely, on the contrary it provides depth and texture to that which covers it. The arrangement brings to mind the process of dream-distortion summarized by Freud in the famous formula ‘displacement and condensation’. Everything we see is something else as well, and appears to us on multiple levels.

Several elements feed into Hiba Kalache’s work. She draws and collects maps of Beirut and plans of neighborhoods previously barricaded during the civil war. She recounts these obstructions, or restores routes marked by collective history, as well as events from her own life. These sources, such as the images of explosions she keeps in her studio while working on her series, describe a form of general visual memory where Kalache physically builds her imagination. The combination of unequal, almost incompatible spaces and times resembles a process of induced weightlessness. From these disturbances of spatial cohesion and the elemental sense of terrestrial gravity, is born a subtle balance between destruction and regeneration. This is probably the work process that evokes Beirut the best, a diachronic approach that seems in constant negotiation with its own memory.

Hiba Kalache lives in Beirut, having pursued her studies in the United States and taught visual arts.