Starry skies and deep-running emotions come together at ‘Art into the Night’ exhibition

A richly diverse exhibition showcasing the work of 20 contemporary artists has opened at La Boîte, Faqra Club, animated by moodsetter Médéa Azouri, where it will run until August 26, 2018.

Titled ‘Art into the Night’, the exhibition forms part of the all-encompassing ‘1001 Nights, 1001 Works!’ event which is curated by Galerie Alice Mogabgab, and viewed by many as Lebanon’s top summer cultural event.

Taking the night and all the emotions that it triggers as inspiration, the exhibition features a wealth of pieces, spanning a variety of media and genre that range from painting, sculpture, photography and graphic art to video, installation and contemporary ceramics.

The exhibition has been given an added dimension by its historic setting in La Boîte, the iconic discotheque which closed in 1991, but is now reopening its doors to art and contemporary creative freedom.

Making full use of the former discotheque’s intricate layout, the exhibits are creatively and atmospherically displayed, taking viewers on a journey that begins at the entrance to the Auberge de Faqra and then passes along the ground floor, through the lounges and down to the hostesses’ vestibule, which has been transformed into a gallery of stars. Finally, visitors reach the dancefloor, where the Night Tree takes the centre stage, while a black, half-open curtain marks the entrance to the billiard room, to constellations and starry heavens.

The artists taking part in the show include Hannibal Srouji (Lebanon), Takayoshi Sakabe (Japan), Zina El Edlibi (Syria), Jean Girel (France), François Sargologo (Lebanon), Nicolas Tourte (France), Azza Abo Rebieh (Syria), Andrée Hochar Fattal (Lebanon), Samuel Coisne (Belgium), Gilbert Hage (Lebanon), Charles Belle (France); Gilles Marrey (France), Malgorzata Paszko (Poland), Nancy Debs Hadad (Lebanon), Etel Adnan (Lebanon), Emma Rodgers (United Kingdom), Yoko Fukushima (Japan), and Luciano Zanoni (Italy).

Commenting ahead of the opening, Alice Mogabgab Karam, gallery owner and the show’s curator, noted that the night-time theme has fed the imagination of many an artist over the centuries, from the Thousand and One Nights folk tales in the 8th century to the illuminations in Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry by the Limbourg brothers (1412 and 1416) and beyond. “From the torments of humanity, artists seek to render the beauty of colours,” she said. “But the night also suggests solitude, tranquillity, heartache, dreaming, amazement, vast starry skies … a world that our summer exhibition humbly attempts to explore.”

This much-anticipated group exhibition takes place against a backdrop of conferences, concerts and screenings of films about painting, music, dance, oriental chanting and opera, scheduled every Saturday until August 26, such as ‘Le Songe d’une nuit d’été’ (100’, film from the Paris Opera, French, 2017), ‘Tales of the Night’ (75’, animated feature film directed by Michel Ocelot, 2011, French with English subtitles), ‘After Hours’ (96’, film directed by Martin Scorsese, USA, 1985, original soundtrack with French subtitles), ‘Daniel Barenboïm, The Warsaw Recital’ (90’, film-concert, 2010), Nos nuits sont plus belles que le jour (90’, French and original soundtrack for the film extracts) presented by critic, script writer and writer Rabih Haddad, and Odes à la nuit, secrets, rêves et prières de l’opéra presented by Lama Tyan, a passionate lover of music and art, of culture and languages, who has been teaching listening and appreciation of opera since 2003.