Danielle A. Krikorian
“The Fall,” an exhibition by Danielle Genadry, showcased five pieces dealing with drawing, photography, and painting regarding landscapes and sceneries of Lebanon.
“The Fall” at the Sursock museum opened on the 12th of February and will last until the 18th of April. The exhibition was peculiar as it only presented five pieces depicted by the New York based artist.
However, each piece is rich in both content and analysis offering the viewer a window into Genadry’s intake on Lebanon or, to be more precise, Lebanese photographs of mountains and nature.
Genadry’s works seemed to recreate a technological interpretation of art and photography. Nida Hassan, an artist and professor at AUB, expressed: “It is very interesting. I am intrigued by her installations and use of the space in displaying the work.”
Indeed, “The Fall” (Afqa), an Acrylic and oil painting after which the exhibition was named, proposed an illusionary recreation of an old photograph. The mountain and adjoining nature were depicted in light brown-like colors, reminding the viewer of old photographs of the early to mid-20th century when colors were not fully developed yet. To 21st century viewers, this painting may have given an impression of a filter. One could only wonder how both centuries came together in “The Fall” to reconcile technological advances, which represented technological innovations to different generations.
Perhaps this painting represented an odd cycle of technological artistic reproduction and innovation from the photograph to the digital picture. In a sense, art seemed to recreate itself through the different media. This may be the cycle of borrowing from the old and offering it anew with a contemporary appeal. Walid Sadek, also an artist and professor at AUB, expounds on his critique of the work: “I wrote my piece thinking of one work “The Fall” as opposed to the whole exhibition.
This is the notion of a photography over-exposure. That is why I wrote about photography in her work. So ‘sun painting’ is a word they used to use for photography. It is the light that makes the image.”
“Janneh” and another nameless digital print on paper both represented this idea. Yet, they also offered an interpretation of movement. The artist had exposed these works by pinning them with two pins on the wall. A breeze, a coup-de-vent, or a person’s gesture could have moved or ruffled the digital prints.
This act deliberately left the works of art at the mercy of random or unexpected movement triggers. In a way, this could have illustrated the motion of driving and taking aside photography of the Lebanese road. Perhaps, they also symbolize the cycle of technological advances, which are always in motion and seemingly never ending; their end becoming out of reach. Another interpretation could have been the impact time itself could have had with these digital photographs. What was meant before has undergone a change of meaning or perception. “The Missing view”; which is an acrylic on Mylar presented to the viewer as a scroll, may have reinforced this concept of movement. Though, it added a cycle-like interpretation of movement or rather a continuous one of a movement being followed by another one in a never-ending sphere.
On her last piece, “If I Could Fly” (Janneh) and on the exhibition as a whole, Danielle Genadry herself discussed during the opening night on the 12th of February, “With this work, I was more experimental in Beirut than in New York, switching the planks. I think that in my works in general I tend to work across mediums: painting, drawing, and photography actually. This is to help the viewer deprioritize a sort of hierarchy of materials. What I am interested in is working with three mediums at once to see what you can pull out and how much you can get from one. So what I would love from anyone looking at it, whether they are old or new artists, is to think of the word ‘and’ instead of ‘or’. It is about taking a precise moment, which is impossible to re-access. The only way to re-access this moment is to actually create a new experience. My question is therefore: how can I translate a moment into a large painting, a drawing, and a photograph so that when someone walks in they are reminded through it of another piece?” This of course, is a never ending-life experiment.