Ayman Baalbaki

Painter and installation artist Ayman Baalbaki was born and raised in Lebanon in 1975 and lives and works in Beirut. He studied Fine Arts at the Institut des Beaux-Arts in Beirut and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs (ENSAD) in Paris, and then received a Diploma from the University of Paris VIII (also known as the University of Vincennes in Saint-Denis).

 

Baalbaki’s paintings often represent destroyed buildings, occupied by refugees forced to leave their homeland. Strongly influenced by his childhood memories of the Lebanese civil war, Baalbaki sees recent history as its continuation, and since 2005 has created a series of works representing scattered structures, which survived the bombing of Beirut’s southern part in that year. Among his most popular series are works representing warriors wearing veils or masks - anonymous portraits are symbols of the un-ending, heated and tragic conflicts in the Middle East. These works have been exhibited around the world, including the Venice Biennale.

 

Although better known as a painter, he also makes installations and sculpture, addressing themes of nomadism and travel. His installation Destination X (2010), an installation comprising an old red car loaded with a pile of baggage and suitcases, was shown in Arabicity, an exhibition in Liverpool and at the Beirut Exhibition Center. Destination X, symbolizing the consequences of war.

 

Baalbaki’s art is powerful because it addresses the long-lasting crisis in the Middle East which is well-known around the world. His paintings and installations portray both individual and collective suffering and anxiety and they are able to stir strong emotions in the viewer.  Baalbaki’s striking work has made him the most successful Arab painter of his generation at auction in Dubai and London.

 

As well as creating site-specific works in the Middle East and Europe, Baalbaki has exhibited widely, including the solo shows "Beirut again and again" (2011), Rose Issa Projects, London; "Ciel charge de fleurs", Luce Gallery, Turin (2010); "Ceci n'est pas la Suisse", Rose Issa Projects, London, (2009); "Apocalyptic Transfiguration", Agial Art Gallery, Beirut (2008) and “Ici est Ailleurs”, Agial Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon (2006).