One word to describe the ethos of Artlab, a relatively young art space in Gemmayze, would be “eclectic”.
Founded in 2012, Artlab is engaging in the art scene of Beirut with a fresh take on the display and collection of art. Located in Gemmayze, near the St. Nicolas stairs, it opens on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm, and from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
With a permanent collection and a series of exhibitions, a variety of mediums and art forms are included. Interests range from film, video art, and photography, to drawing and painting.
While it places emphasis on promoting younger up-and-coming artists in the MENA region, and from elsewhere, they also boast a collection of 20th century works featuring artists like Hossein Ali Zabehi and Gylan Safadi.
As other galleries in Beirut lean towards commercial or decorative exhibitions, Artlab prides itself on a philosophy of expressive art that is aesthetically engaging.
“Artlab presents art collectors with a simple value proposition; These young artists’ work is not only artistically and aesthetically fascinating, but is also a sound investment. Through the discovery and exposure of fresh talent, Artlab brings an attractive collection of artists to the Lebanese market, whose work is affordable, exciting, and fresh,” says Antoine Haddad – owner of Artlab – in a written statement.
Haddad’s role is central to Artlab’s success. His take on art stems from over 20 years of passion for art, and his philosophy on both viewing and selling art is refreshingly honest within the art world. He does not shy away from art that he deems expressive and fascinating, simply because these words have become somewhat taboo in an academic art history setting.
What ArtLab offers is a communal space. For artists, it is a chance to exhibit and potentially sell their work outside of a traditional commercial gallery environment. For the viewer, it serves as an open arena for discussion, experience, and acquisition of art that may otherwise be inaccessible.
Recent exhibitions included “The Other”, a duo exhibition from artists Moi Ramzi and Paridokht Moshkzad, which focuses on the questions of identity, unity, and the phenomenon of the Other as the dark, opposing side of the Self.