National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens

The Atlas Group

Walid Raad

1976-1999

The work is displayed as part of the permanent exhibition

Photography

Photographic installation

15 digital prints
42 x 32 cm each
Εdition 4/7
Purchased with sponsorship by Greek collectors, 2005
Inv. No. 543/05

Starting from the question “how does one write the history of the Lebanese Civil War?” the practice of Lebanese artist Walid Raad focuses on the function of subjective narratives and personal testimonies as mechanisms for constructing and disputing the commonplace of historical narrative and representation. The main vehicle for this quest was the “Atlas Group”, an art project (1989–2004) in the form of a fictional research institution based in Beirut and New York with the mission of researching and documenting the recent history of Lebanon and especially its civil wars (1975–1991). In this context, the photos used as the basis for the digital prints No, Illness is neither here nor there come from the archive of Dr. Fadl Fakhouri, who appears as the main historian of the civil war in Lebanon. As an amateur photographer, Dr. Fakhouri took pictures of hosts of Beirut doctors’ signs in Arabic and French during 1976–1978. This attempt at a random recording and classification of professional classes that flourished during the war reveals aspects of daily life in Beirut, reminding us that the presence of trauma and its potential healing can take various forms.
Tina Pandi, text from the permanent exhibition guide ENTER EMST : Collection & History, A short guide, 2020

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