Said Baalbaki
One Hand Alone Can't Clap | 2010
Bronze. 90 x 30 x 15 cm. 8/8

The Monument of Martyrs Square, executed by the Italian sculptor Mazzucarati, in replacement to a previous work by Youssef Howayeck, witnessed 15 years of violence, from its location on the front line. After the end of the war, it was taken for restoration and then re-placed on its podium in 2004. Ironically, the bullet holes were not repaired and the statue returned with one hand missing. Said Baalbaki produced the missing hand, implying that the dismemberment is intentional and permanent, like an archeological fragment.

Reference MSB-ISO-2010-A

Biography of the artist

Born in Lebanon. 1974
Works and Lives in Berlin

Themes of historical accuracy, institutional power and social memory feature in the artwork of painter and interdisciplinary artist Mohamad Said Baalbaki. Based in Berlin, the Lebanese artist was initially known for painted works that drew on his experiences as a child during the Lebanese Civil War and Israeli occupation. Baalbaki and his family were often uprooted and forced to move between different districts in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon during the war. Baalbaki’s paintings, often devoid of people, portray piles of items such as suitcases, shoes, clothing and other belongings, symbolising lost, unrecorded and forgotten stories of history. A conceptual shift in Baalbaki’s work occurred in 2006 when he began to examine the role of museums and institutions in guiding dominant perceptions of history. His ongoing project “Al Buraq” is a fictional museum display charting the discovery of remains of the winged horse with a human head that is part of the Islamic tradition. Baalbaki seeks to challenge the credibility of the museum, asking: “why and how does an artefact presented in a museum convey the impression of utmost credibility and authenticity to the spectator?” Baalbaki’s work, featured in many prestigious galleries, has been exhibited across the Middle East, Europe, Canada and the United States.

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