from 13 December 2013 to 16 February 2014
Scheduled for La Criée from 13 December 2013 to 16 February 2014, the exhibition Safe Sounds is a selection of films and videos by Lebanese artist Ziad Antar, covering the period 2006–2013. Often brief, these sequences illustrate an approach governed by economy of means and «the image as idea*».
The image, moving or still, is the core of Ziad Antar’s oeuvre, for which various photographic and cinematic media provide the raw material.
His way of filming combines the rudimentary with a concept of urgency: basic or well-worn equipment, brevity, single subjects, continuous or static shots, absence of editing, etc. His subjects come from his everyday environment and the financial and technical limitations he works within mean an «instant» rendering of his ideas.
Sound and music loom large in almost all his videos, with music in some cases the actual subject of the work. The videos making up the Night of Love series, begun in 2009 – two new ones have been made specially for the exhibition – are interpretations of songs by Oum Kalthoum, the most popular in the Arabic world. Static shots of musicians of different backgrounds playing in different styles convey the paradoxical richness of a music at once extremely culturally distinctive and absolutely universal.
The conflicts in Lebanon and the Middle East generally are never directly addressed in Ziad Antar’s work, but they are very much present as an ongoing state of affairs. In the video Safe Sound he films his family’s everyday life during the 30 - day Israel - Hezbollah war in 2006: we see no dead and nothing of the fighting, but we sense the reality of the war through the dragging passage of time, people’s boredom, and the sound of bombs and firing in the distance.
Ziad Antar adopts a direct approach to the reality of the world. And out of this reality – so multifaceted, complex and shifting – he draws images that speak for themselves. With brio.
* Barbara Coffy, «A video is an idea – Ziad Antar», lilabel, February 1rst, 2011