Mounira AL SOLH
Reclining Man with Sculpture 1
In 2007, His Holiness Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir was commissioned to make a performance at the Giardini during the Venice Biennial. His Holiness declared that for the performance to succeed four people should be disguised like him, and should walk in the Giardini. The performance consisted of him with the four-disguised people to group at a certain point, and to look all together at the same direction, at the same precise point (that we won’t know about) and in the exact same time. If anyone films them or records them in the act of looking at the same point, the performance will be considered a failure.
Reclining Man with Sculpture 2
After the July 2006 war in Lebanon, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the 6th President of the Iranian Republic, invited Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Hizbollah, to Tehran for a three-day vacation. As soon as Nasrallah arrived, Ahmadinejad took him to the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.
Here we see them fervently discussing “Reclining Man with Sculpture”, a painting by Francis Bacon. They were talking about its deep green background and the position of the man on the sofa. While Ahmadinejad expressed his appreciation for the green background, Nasrallah objected, arguing that had the white not been there, the green would have been just too dark and boring. Deep down, he thought that the painting looks better in its online picture than in its original form hanging in the Tehran Museum. “What saves this painting is the fact that the man isn’t looking at the sculpture,” mused Nasrallah.
Reclining Man with Sculpture 3
Rafic Hariri, the Lebanese Prime Minister who was assassinated on the 14th of February 2005, once made his then five-year-old son Saad took an intensive, two-month private painting lesson with Willem De Kooning. After Rafic Hariri got assassinated, Saad was elected to his father’s place in the Lebanese Parliament.
Here, the two-month course has just ended, and Rafic Hariri took little Saad by the hand to thank Willem De Kooning and offer him some flowers:
“Try to tell him thank you in Dutch just like I taught you, then kiss him and smile with all your heart.” said Rafic Hariri to his son.
“But dad, I don’t like to paint with him. He forces me to use a thick brush and the skin colors!” Said Saad.
Reclining Man with Sculpture 4
At a furniture design gallery in Paris, Randa Berri, Vice President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women was trying to convince her husband Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament since 1992, to buy her a dozen Rietveld Chairs for her living room.
She planned to invite some important women from the United Arab Emirates to discuss Postmodernism in the Arab World and China.
In the furniture design gallery, they argued as Randa Berri sit on one of the chairs:
“I don’t want them to come and see our gold and white couches!”
－“Why not? What’s wrong with our couches? If you want to prove to them that you love art, why don’t we buy a painting for the living room instead of those uncomfortable chairs?” Nabih Berri objected.
“I like the Rietveld chair because it is low, and alludes to our Arab origins, how we like to sit on a low level!”
－ “But it’s uncomfortable. Rietveld designed it especially for tall people. Those who have bodies bigger than ours! And its colors are like those you’d find in a kindergarten; they lack elegance!”
“Since when are you the authority on elegance?”
－ “They should have been white and gold.”
Mounira AL SOLH
Born in 1978, Beirut, Lebanon
Lives and works between Beirut, Lebanon and Amsterdam, the Netherlands.