Images from Beirut: the art of Raed Yassin

At Artissimma in Torino, last October, we were attracted to a stand of Kalfayan Galleries from Greece that exhibited work, not just of Greek artists but also of artists from around the Mediterranean,including Raed Yassin.

 

In the centre of the stand were three apparently Chinese dynasty vases which on closer study revealed scenes of battle from Lebanese civil war, produced when the artist worked in Jingdezhen, capital of Chinese porcelain art production.

The artist is Raed Yassin, and those works formed his ‘Yassin Dynasty’, a project derivative from the work “China” (2012) that was made possible with the support of the Abraaj Group Art Prize.

Quoting Kalfayan:

The “Raed Yassin Dynasty” works are part-beautiful object, part-historical document, and part-mass-produced product. They echo the ancient tradition of recording victories at battle on vases and ceramics for the sake of posterity, and suggest that countless objects painted by different porcelain masters are being reproduced under the same fictional ‘dynasty’. The battles detailed on the exhibited works are ones that were instrumental for territorial, demographic and political shifts in Lebanon, and their ramifications are still tangible today. This merging between traditional, historical and artisanal elements creates a conceptually complex and multi-layered work.’

Raed Yassin was born in 1979 in Beirut where he lives and works. He graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut. As well as being a multidisciplinary artist, he is also a musician and has released a number of albums. Raed has exhibited his work in numerous museums, festivals and venues in Lebanon and around the world, including Kalfayan Galleries, Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain, Brussels; Singapore Art Museum; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; New Museum, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Delfina Foundation, London (where he is currently in residence).

Kalfayan launched an exhibition by Raed Yassin at their art gallery in Athens. This solo art exhibition, “Amnesiac Commissions” negotiates themes of personal and collective narrative and memory in an attempt to challenge a common survival tool, that of selective amnesia.