An artist examines the dark side of Lebanon’s past

Above:  Walid Raad, My Neck Is Thinner Than a Hair, 1996-2004. Archival inkjet prints, each 24 x 34 cm. Courtesy Anthony Reynolds Gallery and Galerie Sfeir Semler 

The most comprehensive and multifaceted presentation of the work of The Atlas Group and New York-based Lebanese artist Walid Raad opens at the Art Gallery of York University on Sept. 15 and is followed by a series of exhibitions and performances at various locations in Toronto. These include the Prefix Institute for Contemporary Art; Vtape; University of Toronto, Colloquium on Visual Culture; and the Ryerson University Kodak Lecture Series.

The Atlas Group, the fictional entity through which Raad operates, is an on-going project devoted to researching and documenting the contemporary history of Lebanon. This documentation includes notebooks, films, videotapes and photographs. It is organized into archives that are situated between the false binary of fiction and non-fiction. Some of the archived documents presented in project are real and others invented. The exhibition, split between two sites and framed by two lectures, exposes the two faces of the project.








Above and below: Images by Walid Raad

Displayed at AGYU from Sept. 15 to Nov. 14, the presentation titled I Was Overcome By A Momentary Panic At The Thought That They Were Right: Documents From The Nassar Files in The Atlas Group Archive is part of The Atlas Group’s ambitious project that documents the use of the car bomb in the Lebanese wars of 1975-1991. Used by militias across the political spectrum, the car bomb, beyond functioning as a weapon, is seen as a technology, an event, and most significantly a discourse that has determined and affects aspects of public life in Lebanon. The opening reception of the exhibition will take place on Sept. 15 from 6 to 9pm.

Gallery hours for The Art Gallery of York University are: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm; Wednesday, 10am to 8pm; Sunday, noon to 5pm; Saturday, closed. Admission is free.

AGYU @ Prefix Institute for Contemporary Art

The Truth Will Be Known When The Last Witness Is Dead: Documents from The Fakhouri File in The Atlas Group Archive collects the archival documents attributed to the fictitious Lebanese historian Dr. Fadl Fakhouri and will be exhibited for the first time in Toronto from Sept. 16 to Nov. 27 at the Prefix Institute for Contemporary Art (Prefix ICA). The exhibit opens with a reception on Sept. 16 from 7 to 10pm at Prefix ICA. The gallery is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday, from noon to 5pm and is located at 401 Richmond St. West, Suite 124, Toronto.

The exhibitions at AGYU and Prefix ICA are made possible by the generous financial support of Salah Bachir.








Vtape Salon

In conjunction with the AGYU exhibitions, Vtape presents a series of film and video works chosen by The Atlas Group and Walid Raad that address memory and its often imperfect record. The program, featuring Gene Gort, Whirl Without End (1996), Peter Greenaway, Windows (1975), Vlatka Horvat, Out on a Limb (2002), Julia Meltzer and David Thorn, It’s not my memory of it (2003), Jay Rosenblatt, Human Remains (1998), Anri Sala, Intervista (1998), and Lisa Steele, Birthday Suit – with scars and defects (1974), will open with a public reception on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 2 to 5pm and will continue until Nov. 26 in the Vtape Salon. Vtape is open to the public Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 5pm and Saturday from noon to 4pm, and is located at 401 Richmond St. West, Suite 452, Toronto.

For more information about the accompanying lectures that frame these exhibits, visit The Art Gallery of York University Web site. The site offers a new virtual dialogue about the exhibition on its BLOG. QuickTime video is also available from the AGYU’s new multi-media archives. Visitors to the site can access installation views, images and information about past exhibitions, artists and educational programs.

About Walid Raad

Walid Raad is a media artist and professor of art at Cooper Union in New York City. His works include a textual analysis, video, performance and photography projects. Walid Raad is a member of The Arab Image Foundation (Beirut/New York). Visit The Atlas Group Web site for more information on the artist and his work.