A Second Coming
BAR Project Space is pleased to present ‘A Second Coming’, featuring a selection of works by Lebanese visual artist Tagreed Darghouth. This exhibition highlights paintings from Darghouth’s 2013 series ‘Nuclear Craters’, where she explores the nuclear testing terrain in the vast Nevada desert. In response to current events, this body of work is now more relevant than ever. We stand at a time where Elon Musk’s SpaceX has sent its first rocket, Falcon Heavy, to outer space with the end goal of enabling the colonization of Mars. And Musk is not alone in this endeavor with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic promising to send tourists to space by the end of this year as NASA prepares its next human spaceflight system. This all begs the question; why are we planning the colonization of another planet?
During the Falcon Heavy news conference, Elon Musk set forth a challenge: “We want a new space race.” The world has not seen a “space race” since the Cold War of the 1960’s.
The nuclear testings featured in Dargouth’s work were driven by the arms race during the cold war, which was further propelled by the space race. Inspired by these events, Darghouth’s works advertently show the devastating impact of nuclear weapons on the land. In her paintings, the artist depicts plots of land radically fractured and sometimes removed from their context in compositions that push beyond the traditional mediums of representation. Employing multiple perspectives that adhere to recognizable compositions, the subject matter of these works seems to cohere solely on an individual basis rather than a collective one. Through various repetitions and representations of the same crater from a range of angles, the surfaces of the works appear as a plane that moves fluidly between dimensions. The relationship between craters and the landscape alter the ground upon which our visual senses rely, creating a de-stabilized, surreal yet familiar tension.
There is a reason, beyond the mere fantasy of it, that SpaceX is undertaking measures to colonize Mars linking back to the inevitable fear of a nuclear apocalypse. The title of the exhibition ‘A Second Coming’ alludes to this cryptic foreshadowing of a possible nuclear war. The notion of collapse acquires darker connotations when understood throughout the subject of the paintings – evoking themes of preparing, covering up and ultimately exposing a premeditated destruction.
About the Artist
Born in 1979, Saida, Lebanon, Tagreed Darghouth earned a diploma in art education and studied fine arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut. She then went on to study space art at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Tagreed’s social and political themes draw attention to hidden forms of violence and misconception of the other. For example, in her “Canticle of Death” exhibition, 2011, her paintings drew attention to the irony of the contrast between the colorful innuendos given to weapons of mass destruction and their lethal purposes.Tagreed has exhibited in solo and group shows that have taken her all over the globe from Singapore, Buenos Aires, Paris, Istanbul, Dubai, London, Munich, Miami, New York and Brussels. She attended Ayloul's summer academy for young Arab artists at Darat al Funun, directed by artist Marwan Kassab Bashi, in Amman, Jordan in 2001. She currently works and lives in Beirut, Lebanon.