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The Lebanese Ministry of Culture has announced that it has mandated the artist and composer Zad Moultaka to represent the Lebanese Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition, in 2017.
Zad Moultaka will exhibit a multimedia work for the Lebanese Pavilion installed, from 13 May to 26 November 2017, in the church of Santa Maria della Misericordia, in the Cannaregio district, a prestigious site in the historic centre of Venice.
Emmanuel Daydé, art historian and critic, will be curator of this exhibition at the Lebanese Pavilion.
An internationally renowned composer and visual artist, Zad Moultaka, in his creation, combines "musical invention with visual research in an approach where technology takes inspiration from the archaic" (Emmanuel Daydé). Zad Moultaka's pictorial gesture responds to and harmonises with his musical compositions, centred on common motifs: wrench and separation, the time immemorial and violent of Earth, memory and the instant facing the mute silence of heaven, the impossible reconciliation of opposites. Using large-format papers, painted then torn, on which the natural elements (water especially) come to infiltrate a fragile material, Zad Moultaka creates evolving forms, similar to eroded rock surfaces, ancestral caves in which mineral and vegetal dissolve then are born again in face of the crumbling of the human world.
For the Lebanese Pavilion, Zad Moultaka will conceive a 'constantly evolving work', Sacrum, inspired by the prehistoric caves of Jeita (Lebanon) and Chauvet (France), combining visual structure and sound environment. The latter, made up of sounds of Nature produced by the human voice, will be reprocessed at IRCAM in Paris.
Zad Moultaka states: "In these times when the Middle East is crumbling before our eyes, foundering in fratricidal wars, every act, every thought must be moved by this foretold catastrophe. Our earth is burning, our roots are being torn up, our future is drowning in indifference. It is urgent to question the soil, urgent to put the spiritual back into art, urgent to put naturalness back into the heart of Man. To descend into the depths of time is to climb back up to eternal light: that which is born in the East. Today's man has been ripped from the soil and fallen from heaven.(…) Deaf and blind to the essence of things, he is programming his own obliteration, hastening with it, by anxiety, the crumbling of the world. Within this universe that is losing its way on the shores of materialism and drowning on the surface of the visible, questioning the sacred in the very heart of Man: such is the dream and ambition of this Lebanese Pavilion for the Venice Biennale."
Emmanuel Daydé, curator of the exhibition, describes Zad Moultaka's visual work for the Lebanese Pavilion: "Zad Moultaka's cavern of lost dreams project relies on his experience of going down into the Chauvet cave in France and the Jeita cave in Lebanon: a gigantic sacrum, with broken bones and penetrating sound, overrun by grass and blanketed in dew, expiring and being reborn all at the same time. (…) Neither past nor present, in constant evolution, Zad Moultaka's mysterious, post-historic cave suspends time."
Born in 1967 in Lebanon, Zad Moultaka began studying piano at the Beirut Music Conservatory at an early age. In 1984, he moved to Paris where he continued his musical and instrumental training, at the same time taking painting and drawing classes. After enrolling at the Paris Conservatoire in 1989, in 1992 he began a brilliant international career as a piano soloist, to which he put an end in the late 1990s to devote himself to composition and painting.
As a composer, Zad Moultaka is deepening a musical and stage language in which he integrates the modalities of contemporary western writing with the rhythmic patterns of Arab music, and his creations are performed in major music festivals (Baalbek, Amsterdam, Aix-en-Provence, Montreal, Festival de Radio France, Venice Music Biennale...). In the 2010s, Zad Moultaka began to devote himself more intensely to his pictorial research, exploring supports and materials. In 2011, he participated in the Rebirth exhibition, organised by Janine Maamari at the Beirut Exhibition Center. In 2012, Nadine Begdache gave him a first monographic exhibition at the Galerie Janine Rubeiz in Beirut: Le Feu de l'eau. In the framework of collateral events of the 2015 Venice Biennale, Zad Moultaka exhibited a new series of large-sized paintings, Come in terra, at the Palazzo Albrizzi, organised by Emmanuel Daydé.
In October 2016, at the invitation of Jean de Loisy, director of the Palais de Tokyo and artistic director of the annual Nuit Blanche event in Paris, Zad Moultaka will produce an audio-visual installation in the framework of the 15th edition of Nuit Blanche, in partnership with IRCAM. In 2017, at the invitation of the Arab World Institute (Paris), Zad Moultaka will create a new installation.
Emmanuel Daydé is an art historian, drama critic and essayist. Organiser of the Nuit Blanche event for the City of Paris since its creation in 2002, he is also an exhibition curator: Ousmane Sow on the Pont des Arts (1999), Haiti, anges et démons (2000, La Halle Saint-Pierre, Paris), Le Jardin des délices (2000, Senate Orangery, Paris), Regards persans, Iran, une révolution photographique (2001, Fondation EDF, Paris), Cest la vie! Vanités de Caravage a Damien Hirst (2010, Maillol Museum, Paris), Rabelais/Cerredo: Gargantua (2011, Villa Audi, Beirut), Zad Moultaka: Come in terra (2015, Palazzo Albrizzi, Venice).
Emmanuel Daydé is the author of several monographs and critical texts, in particular on Fabian Cerredo, Anselme Boix-Vives, Youri Norstein, Ousmane Sow, Moustapha Dimé, Aurel Cojean, and Anselm Kiefer
The exhibition site
Chiesa Santa Maria della Misericordia
Campo de l'Abazia
Cannaregio 3548/30121 Venezia
Lebanon's participations in the Venice Biennale
Lebanon gave itself the means for a national pavilion at the Venice Biennale for the first time in 2007. Located on the island of La Giudecca, it hosted a group exhibition (Foreword) bringing together Fouad Elkoury, Lamia Joreige, Walid Sadek, Mounira Al Solh and Akram Zaatari. Lebanon's last participation at the Biennale dates back to 2013 and was represented by Akram Zaatari, in the Arsenale.
About the Venice Biennale
A major rendezvous of contemporary art, the Venice Biennale, founded in 1895, is an exceptional site in terms of visibility and international recognition. In 2015, the Biennale exhibited more than 130 artists, representing 89 nations, and welcomed more than 500,000 visitors during its six-month run. Christine Macel, head curator of the National Museum of Modern Art for the Pompidou Centre in Paris, will be the commissioner general of the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.
The Lebanese Ministry of Culture is contributing its support to the project of the Lebanese Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale 2017.
Partner associated with the project — IRCAM, Paris
A catalogue — will be published by Manuella Editions (Paris) on this occasion, accompanied by a l'empreinte digitale CD.