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Contemporary Lebanese Art, the Artists’ Archive, and Representation of the Civil War

  • Journal of History of Modern Art
  • 2021, (49), pp.63-85
  • Publisher : 현대미술사학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Art > Arts in general > Art History
  • Received : April 30, 2021
  • Accepted : May 26, 2021
  • Published : June 30, 2021

Sunhee Jang 1

1국민대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This thesis investigates the ways in which the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) has been represented by two Lebanese artists, Walid Raad (1967~) and Akram Zaatari (1966~). First, I problematize the ongoing censorship surrounding documenting and writing the histories of the civil war. (In Lebanon, complicated relationships among different religious and ethnic groups make it hard to agree on how to historicize the war.) Then, I analyze two different types of the artists’ archive—The Atlas Group Archive (1989-2004) by Raad is fictional, and the Arab Image Foundation(AIF, 1997~) where Zaatari was president, is real. Through analysis of the archives, I discuss how the artists have been intervening in writing history of war by questioning the power and authenticity of the archive itself. I then turn to the AIF and Zaatari’s uses of the archival materials. I argue that Zaatari employs Foucault’s archaeological and genealogical methods of history by examining the artist’s film and installation Letter to a Refusing Pilot(2013). Finally, I claim that Zaatari’s representation of the civil war, which is based on his experiences rather than objective data, delivers truer narratives than any other, by crossing the borders of faction and fact.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.