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Be...longing by Fouad Elkoury


Be...longing by Fouad Elkoury

Exhibition at the Beirut Art Center from 29th July, 2011, till the 1st October 2011.
Opening reception on Thursday July 28, from 6pm to 9pm. 
About the exhibition
Beirut Art Center is pleased to present Be…longing, a solo exhibition dedicated to the renowned Lebanese artist and photographer Fouad Elkoury. Be…longing presents photographs from Fouad Elkoury’s forty-year career, many of which have not been shown until now. From Beirut to Paris, from Cairo to Istanbul, and from other places where he has left part of himself behind, his images form a pictorial autobiography that extends across different cultures. Regardless of his subject – concrete skeletons of skyscrapers under construction, an armed soldier waiting behind a pile of sandbags, a fur drying on a clothesline – Elkoury’s photographs convey the ineluctable passing of time.
In Civil War, Elkoury presents a series of black and white and color photographs taken in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War, which are divided into five chronological sections each highlighting important dates from the conflict. The series Sombres juxtaposes images from different parts of the world for insights into the subjects scrutinized, beginning with a set of images showing Beirut in the aftermath of the civil war. EIkoury’s intrepid travels are also presented in Monologues, an array of images from different countries and cultures displaying what he terms ‘itinerancies’. Atlantis documents the head of the PLO’s escape from Beirut by sea, revealing an intimate and often unseen side of Arafat. In Palestine, the artist settles down to document the struggle of everyday life under occupation, while Civilization, Fake = Real? shows diasecs of Dubai, a civilization of contradictions in the process of boom and formation. Time Monologues mixes moving and still images as an experiential study on the passing of time, while Moments projects images accompanied by music, exploring themes such as the traces of war and Elkoury’s journey in Egypt in the footsteps of Gustave Flaubert and Maxime Du Camp.
Be…longing is an exhibition poised between Fouad Elkoury’s wanderlust and his in-depth studies on societies. It is a retrospective that delves into his archive, shedding light on his renowned works by presenting them in the context of never-before-exhibited images.
Fouad Elkoury was born in 1952 in Paris. After graduating with a degree in architecture from the AA (Architectural Association) in London in 1979, he turned to photography and depicted Beirut during the civil war. In 1984 he published Beyrouth Aller-Retour, a book on the life of a war-torn city. The following year he turned his lens on Egyptian cinema, while simultaneously undertaking a series of portraits of Arab authors. His work on the urban landscape of Marseille resulted in an exhibition at the Musée de la Vieille Charité (1986) and developed into a sustained interest in photographing cities: Rome, Amman, Djibouti.
In 1989 Elkoury joined the Rapho agency and won the ‘Prix Medicis Hors les Murs’, before spending a year in Egypt retracing the steps of Gustave Flaubert and Maxime Du Camp. In 1991 he created a series on downtown Beirut, capturing the aftermath of war, published in the album Beirut City Centre (Editions du Cyprès) and presented in an exhibition at the Paris Palais de Tokyo in 1993. The book has since become a landmark in the history of photography.
In 1997, he co-founded the Arab Image Foundation, which archives and promotes photography from the surrounding region. Elkoury premiered his first video, Lettres à Francine, in 2002 when he exhibited at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris.
In 2005 Elkoury began working on two distinct works, the photographic project Civilisation, Fake = Real? and the video Welcome to Beirut. Following the summer 2006 war in Lebanon, he created the photographic diary On War and Love. The series was first exhibited at Galerie Tanit, Munich, and then at the 2007 Venice Biennale.
Between 2008 and 2009, Elkoury developed a new project entitled What Happened to My Dreams, which was simultaneously exhibited in Dubai, Paris and Beirut. It is a photographic series addressing a range of contemporary socio-political issues, a natural extension of themes he has been exploring throughout his career.
Fouad Elkoury lives between Beirut and Paris.

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