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Figures Upon Landscape

Paris Without a Sea: Mounira Al Solh

010_03 / 13 July 2016


Mounira Al Solh

Paris without a Sea, 2007–08

Video no.2, colour, sound

13 mins 8 secs


Paris Without A Sea focuses on interviews that I did with men. Usually, making an interview presupposes that there should be an interviewer and an interviewee, and that the two stand on different sides; that they are two different entities or units. This video tries to defy this presupposition, without really changing it. The questions begin by asking very basic things that are so banal that they are usually taken for granted. Sometimes the exaggerated fast rhythm of the video, and these questions and answers from the men (that are even more surprising) make the video slide into the absurd, where appropriation and performance constitute underlying strong components of the work.


This selection of films, curated Jim Quilty, is presented on Ibraaz in collaboration with the Beirut Art Center.

About the author

Mounira Al Solh

Mounira Al Solh (b.1978, Beirut, Lebanon) studied painting at the Lebanese University in Beirut, and Fine Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where she was also resident at the Rijksakademie between 2006 and 2008. Al Solh's practices stretch across several mediums including videos, installations, photo-collages, paintings, and performances. Her work is set out to interrogate themes encompassing the social and the personal, where the autobiographical becomes universal. Drawing on various disciplines within the social sciences, Al Solh's art aspires to ask 'large questions in small places', operating according to Ginzburg's notion of microhistory. As the editor of NOA magazine (with Fadi Tofeili, among others), and NOA language school (with Angela Serino), Al Solh examines and explores topics such as treason, arrest, language, and schizophrenia in dialogue with artists and writers.


Her work has been displayed in solo exhibitions at Alt art space, Istanbul, Turkey (2016); Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut (2014); at Kunsthalle Lisbon, Portugal (2014); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Kunst-Werke Berlin e. V., Berlin, Germany (2014); Art in General, New York (2012) as well as in group shows at Everything in Nature has a Lyrical Essencea tragic fate, a comic existence, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (2016); Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy (2015); Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York, USA The New Museum, New York (2014); Neighbors, Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey (2013) Haus Der Kunst, Munich (2010); Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain (2010); The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai (2010); Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2011); Al Riwaq Art Space, Manama, Bahrain (2010); the Galerie Nord, Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin; and the 11th International Istanbul Biennial in 2009. Her video Rawane's Song received the 2007 jury prize at VideoBrasil. Her video installation As If I Don't Fit There was part of the first Lebanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007.