Rayyane Tabet, Winning Artist, Abraaj Group Art Prize 2013
FIRE/CAST/DRAW, Five thousand hand-cast unique lead pieces and two wall texts, ink on cotton paper, lead pieces: dimensions variable; wall text: 29 x 23 cm each
FIRE/CAST/DRAW consists of thousands of unique lead pieces, each cast by the artist by pouring a few grams of lead shot-the equivalent weight of a single bullet-melted in a stovetop coffee pot into a water-filled coffee cup. This modest process re-enacts a divining ritual his grandmother performed on him in his youth. Hidden in each craggy lump is thought to be the face of the person who may have cursed you by casting the evil eye your way. Uncannily synthesizing distinct strands of research-art history, numismatics, superstition, and the conflict-ridden history of the Middle Eastthe installation, through Tabet’s five thousand-fold repetition of this ritual, multiplies its apotropaic effect, extending it to the collective. Maybe, those culpable for the region’s many traumas, for the many curses Arabs have endured, will finally be held accountable as their features manifest in the nooks and crannies of these little nuggets.
Rayyane Tabet’s work is concerned with researching hidden histories that are transformed and retold through objects and installations. Recipient of the special jury prize, Pinchuk Arts Centre, Kiev, he exhibited with the Future Generation Art Prize, Venice Biennale, 2013. Tabet lives and works in Beirut and is represented by Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut.