Alfred Tarazi. A Nation’s Inflation 

Alfred Tarazi. A Nation’s Inflation 

Sto caricando la mappa ....

Data / Ora
Date(s) - 02/09/2022 - 21/09/2022
11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Castello 2432


Presented for the first time in Venice A Nation’s Inflation is a corpus of 28 unique collages by Lebanese Artist Alfred Tarazi. As History stops in the 50s in the Lebanese schoolbooks, Alfred Tarazi, with this series of prints chooses to tell through the inflation his version of the Contemporary History of Lebanon. Each print represents in this sense a chapter of the Lebanese recent History. With the Lebanese bill as a background, and mixing political references and popular culture, this series shows in this way the contrasted and sometimes absurd socio-political panorama of the Land of the Cedars.

“Money, numbers and calculations were never of a real interest to me. But it is perhaps in those num- bers that lay the secrets that govern our lives. At the outset, it was my interest in Lebanon’s history that brought this project to life. I was trying to make sense of the Lebanese Civil War and had a lot of ques- tions to ask. There was the Lebanon my parents had known, there was the war, and there was the Leba- non I knew, and the gap between those different time frames seemed irreconcilable. One of the silent witnesses of this disturbing reality were those bundles of old obsolete Lebanese Lira bills one could still find laying around. If there were one object of nostalgia representing pre-war Lebanon best, it would be those bills. Throughout the war, the Lira lost its value to reach a state of total inflation in the late eighties, until it would finally be stabilized in the early nineties. Before the war, an American dollar would make around 3 liras, after the war, 1500Lebanese Liras would make a dollar. In the reconstruction process of a country and an economy that had been turned into ruins then came the new bills of this inflated currency, reflecting a new reality. The difference in style between the old bills and the new ones was stark. While the old bills could be read as an obvious effort to bridge different geographies together, the new bills contained abstract geometric shapes highlighting the failure of the first attempt. In the schism between the old bills and the new ones I could perhaps uncover the secrets of the Lebanese civil war, and the answer to all my questions.

But what made me really question the nature of war in relation to money was when I begun working on the hypothetical project of a memorial for the victims of the civil war. I was younger, and in my head there was nothing hypothetical about it. Only through the process of remembering, mourning and commemo- rating their dead together could the Lebanese bridge their separate and conflicting histories. Today it’s Lebanon itself that feels hypothetical. When I started fundraising for the memorial project I hit a wall: the cost of the project was too high. But how could that be in relation to the cost of the war, the physical and material loss of a nation? Can one even calculate that cost? The most obvious price Lebanon had to pay for those years of violence is the devaluation of their currency. It is hence the currency that could serve as a canvas to narrate that history. In the geography, or the symbols used on those bills, there already was part of that history. All I had to do then was to introduce in them the protagonists and events that form that story. And combined together, they would give you a historical fresco depicting a nation’s inflation.”

Exhibition curated and organized by Yasmine Helou

Exhibition dates: 2nd of September – 22 September 2022
Opening Reception: 2nd of September 2022, 6 – 8:30pm

Location: Castello 2432, Fondamenta dei Penini, 3012, Venezia Vaporetto: Arsenale ACTV1 4.1 – 4.2 / Allilaguna linea blu / Celestia ACTV 4.1 – 4.2 – 5.1 – 5.2
Opening Hours: Open daily 11am – 6pm, Closed on Monday

Social media Handels:
instagram: @yasmine.helou

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