Whistling in the dark

Curated by Aischa Berg

You whistle in the dark to courageously confront an imaginary incertitude. The sound is extending, resonating out of your body while you try and overcome your doubts in the hope that it will turn out well. However, instead of finding shelter, you are exposed in a maze. You might approach a situation with limited understanding or no awareness of its potential results. You talk about matters although lacking sufficient knowledge of them. What will happen if we decide to face the figments of this uncertainty? The uncertainty of knowing what is real…
Moving through time and space, on a continuous quest … artists from other parts of the world come to reside and work here in Beirut for a couple of months or even years …also those artists born and raised in Lebanon … or those who after years return to the country of their origin. What are their linking forces? Whistling in the Dark opens up a dialogue between some of them and seeks new points of entry to their works.
The exhibited artists investigate and raise questions concerning history and reality.
In this quest, the medium of recording in all its varieties becomes an indispensable asset. Recordings are traces. A sound piece, a videotape and a drawing convey an image of truth. Is a stone also a container of traces,
of time and history?
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Monday-Friday 9AM-6PM

Workshop gallery is a new contemporary art exhibition space of 16m2 located in the suburbs of Beirut, platform for emerging Lebanese and international artists.

Workshop Gallery

Gallery Opening hours
Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 6 PM
Saturdays on appointment - 03 777 235

W8 Building
Beirut - Lebanon
P.O. Box 2701-1411
Tel +961 1 494 331/552
Email info@workshop-gallery.com

Volume I: Arabic Home Interiors

  • (2009-12)

the artist’s trawl through cyberspace serves us with a precisely edited non- exhaustive compendium of arabic ama- teur adult movies. these intimate and private spaces are presented bare and in expectation, as all human activity has been edited out, leaving only shots of the house and the details that define it. mutually dependent dichotomies such as expectation and fulfilment, the hidden and the visible, the intimate and the banal are brought to head in this taut structural piece (hasan khan).


Vartan Avakian is born 1977 in Byblos, Lebanon and studied Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University in 2002 and pursued graduate studies in Architecture and Urban Culture at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona in 2012. Avakian lives and works in Beirut and is a founding member of the art collective Atfal Ahdath. His work has been exhibited in Sfeir Semler, Home Works of Ashkal Alwan, Beirut Art Center, Exposure, The Running Horse Contemporary Art Space in Beirut, and various solo and group exhibitions in Kuwait City, Tokyo, New York, Barcelona, Sharjah, U.A.E., London, Rejkjavik, Berlin, Montpellier, Jakarta, and Cairo.

Avakian’s works evolve around notions and related questions of scale, hyperreality, simulacra, media, action movies, the boundary between real and fiction, and how to access erased (Lebanese) history. He is fascinated by (the) synthetic (material), drawing a parallel to products we hold in our hands from so-called natural material, which are in fact equally constructed and processed by us. His often humorous work emanates from his fascination with historical figures. Tropes of the heroic and the bastardized recur throughout Avakian’s oeuvre, appearing unexpectedly and in various guises. “The slippage between things, the lingering gaps between the on and off button, the confusion between the familiar and the alien mark out Avakian’s playground of possibilities. Meticulous in his choice of medium, he invites audiences to engage with the material glitches we normally overlook... It is the inadequacies of a particular technology, the break of flow between speech and silence, the intertwining of public and private, of image and noise, and of the mundane of pop culture and the gravitas of history that interest him” (Nat Muller).