The Lebanese artist discusses her egg-shaped artwork, covered in Arabic writing, which is on show at Galerie Janine Rubeiz in Beirut until February 16, 2021.
My medium has always been language — as a visual aspect but also as content: What is it able to create in the mind of the viewer? Repetition is a tool that’s always present in my work as it can be really overwhelming.
This work is tied to the theme of my exhibition, which is based on a group of words in Arabic. I came up with these words in a small notebook called “Al-Daken Wa ‘Oubouroh” (Darkness and its Crossing).
I used this notebook to sometimes escape from my work or to try my hand at finding some stimulation and inspiration. Some of the words are: The dark, the frightful, the repulsive, the fatal, the tormentor, the colossal, the deadly, the horrifying, the bitter, the abyssal, the destructive, the obscure, the painful, the venomous, the ruthless, the secretive… There are more than 200 of these words that focus on darkness in terms of color and its sacred side, but I never used the term ‘black.’ They’re also descriptive of an emotional state — of psychological suffering, which leads to physical pain.
It’s descriptive of the human condition that people know exists but they don’t go near it and try to avoid it. There are so many ugly things in our world and we don’t want to know about them. And when we do know about them, it shocks us.
There were mistakes when I was writing – sometimes my hand would smudge the text. But these mistakes are necessary. If everything was identical, it would look as if it was printed. It took me three or four days to write everything by hand and I used plaster to make the egg.
Why the shape of an egg? There’s something mysterious about it, as if it’s hiding something. It is the origin of things. I made this egg in 2019, but, honestly, many Lebanese felt that it was made now. In the end, an artwork should be universal, through which people are looking for a specific identification.