010310: Walid Raad – Sweet Talk: Commissions (Beirut)

Camera Austria Walid Raad – Sweet Talk: Commissions (Beirut) 29.01.10 – 05.04.10 The wanderer through the Paris of the Middle East The Lebanese Civil War lasted from 1975 to 1991. In 1987, Walid Raad started his photographical documentation of Beirut – neither yet knowing for what and for whom, nor seeing the possibility for presenting his photos. In the 1980’s they would have been misused for military purposes in the 1990’s for the interests of real estate and financial speculation. Raad commissioned himself with the documentation of Beirut and gave the commissions the name “Sweet Talk”. Decisive for this first time exhibition of his long-term project, which is still far from being finalized, was David Goldblatt, whose work-series also stretch over a long period of time. Many personal aspects of Walid Raad’s flow in this presentation; something that becomes apparent in his press release, which he wrote, as well as in the way he talks about the exhibition and his works. When the Civil War broke out, Raad was eight years old and he was 20 years old as he started with the “Commissions”. Raad spent more than half of his life in a destabilized country. While this explains a lot, the implications for young Central Europeans, who only know about war from history books and news broadcasts, remain inconceivable. When Raad narrates that he encountered an invisible barrier shortly after leaving his house and literally ‘went too far’, because he had left the district of Beirut in which he was known, then one hears what he says, nods, and might think, how strange that would be, but one cannot comprehend what it really means. Questions such as “who are you?”, “what are you doing?” clearly signalized Raad to pack up his camera and walk back. And while doing so, he imagined that simultaneously with him 100 other photographers documented a part of Beirut in which they were able to move about freely. He collected their works under the name “Atlas Group”, the synonym under which Raad presented his work until now. After some time, the radius within which he was allowed to move was extended, reconstruction work began, Beirut changed, and so did Raad's working methods. This resulted in dividing his work into 4 different groups, which do not follow a chronologic order but are determined by the chronology of his work methods. It is very touching to see these photos and it is very impressive to have heard Walid Raad talk about his work. By Nora Theiss Camera Austria 8020 Graz, Kunsthaus Graz, Lendkai 1 Tel: +43 316 81 555 00 Fax: + 43 316/ 81 555 09 email: office@camera-austria-at http://www.camera-austria.at

Camera Austria
8020 Graz, Kunsthaus Graz, Lendkai 1
Tel: +43(0) 316/ 81 555 00, Fax: +43(0) 316/ 81 555 09
Email: office@camera-austria.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-Sa 10-17 h

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