What does one
leave behind when fleeing a war, a conflict or an unbearable situation? A
feeling of home and familiarity, the knowledge of places, the physical links to
cherished memories. But often enough, all of these have been contaminated with
horrors witnessed or experienced. And once the urgency of building a new life
in a new place has lessened, memories tend to take over and demand attention.
The title of
the exhibition refers to this transitory feeling of dealing with loss and
trauma, of needing to re-claim a life for oneself. The two artists share such
experiences and address them in their work. Said Baalbaki’s project Wadi Abou
Jmil is both an homage and an orbituary to the area he grew up in as a child of
an internally displaced family during the Lebanese Civil War (1975 – 1990). The
area has been changed beyond recognition in the brutal re-construction of
Beirut, its social fabric torn apart, its old buildings destroyed. The
fragility of the human body stands at the centre in Yaser Safi’s images. Safi
who recently moved to Berlin from Syria via Beirut draws distorted figures,
destroyed bodies and grotesque-looking figures in groups or standing alone.
They convey an atmosphere of tension and danger, of an unknown menace lurking
somewhere that occasionally breaks through and shows its ugly face.