Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Wonder Beirut. Part 1. The story of a pyromaniac photographer. Slide Base No.5. | 1997-2006
Lightbox, original burnt slide. 50 x 70 x 8 cm.

"The Story of a Pyromaniac photographer" is the first part of the "Wonder Beirut" project based on the collection of a fictional Lebanese photographer named Abdallah Farah. Between 1968 and 1969, Abdallah Farah was commissioned by the Lebanese State to take pictures to be edited as postcards. They represented the Beirut Central District and mainly the Lebanese Riviera and its luxury hotels, which contributed to form an idealised picture of Lebanon in the sixties. As of the Autumn of 1975, Abdallah Farah systematically burned the negatives of the postcards, in accordance with the damages caused to the sites by the shelling and street fights. Abdallah used to photograph the image after each new burn he inflicted on it, producing a series of evolving images, which we call the “process”. (J. Hadjithomas and K. Joreige)

Reference JHKJ-ISO-1997-B

Biography of the artist

Born in Beirut, Lebanon. 1969
Works and Lives in Paris and Beirut

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige collaborate as filmmakers and artists, producing cinematic and visual artwork that interwine. For the last 15 years, they have focused on the images, representations and history of their home country, Lebanon and questioned the fabrication of imaginaries in the region and beyond. Together, they have directed documentaries such as "Khiam" 2000-2007 (2008) and "El Film el Mafkoud" (The Lost Film) (2003) and feature films such as "Al Bayt el Zaher" (1999) and "A Perfect Day" (2005). Their feature film, "Je Veux Voir" (I Want to See), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroue, premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2008. The French critics Guild chose it as Best Film Singulier 2008. Their films have been multi awarded in international festivals and enjoyed releases in many countries. They have created numerous photographic installations, among them "Faces", "Lasting Images", "Distracted Bullets", "The Circle of Confusion", "Don’t Walk", "War Trophies", "Landscape of Khiam", "A Faraway Souvenir" and the multifaceted project "Wonder Beirut". Their artworks have been shown in museums, biennials and art centers around the world, in solo or collective exhibitions and are part of important public and private collections, such as Musee d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; FNAC France; the Guggenheim, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, France; V & A London, the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE, etc. They are recipients of the 2012 Abraaj Capital Art Prize with "A Letter Can Always Reach Its Destination" and won the price Marcel Duchamp, 2017 for their work "Unconformities" (2017). In 2012 they presented their feature documentary "The Lebanese Rocket Society", the strange tale of the Lebanese space race » and a series of artistic installations around the space project of the 60's. They are the authors of numerous publications and university lecturers in Lebanon and Europe, members of the board of Metropolis Cinema, and co-founders of Abbout Productions with Georges Schoucair.