beirut

Saloua Raouda Choucair, Poem In Nine Verses, 1966–68, aluminum, 11 3/8 x 8 5/8 x 2 3/4".

Saloua Raouda Choucair

Beirut Art Center

Saloua Raouda Choucair, Poem In Nine Verses, 1966–68, aluminum, 11 3/8 x 8 5/8 x 2 3/4".

The first major exhibition in more than thirty-five years for the Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair opened with an enormous photograph of the artist’s studio, taken in 2000, strategically placed in the foyer of the Beirut Exhibition Center. Turning left, you entered a space the size of an airplane hangar to get an eyeful of Raouda Choucair’s monumental sculptures in stone, metal, and wood, all evoking sinuous movement from a play of lines, forms, and volumes. Turning right, you found a more intimate room filled with her curious experiments in centrifugal tension—objects made from stainless steel, Plexiglas, and nylon thread. Either way, you had to pass by this picture of a dingy room, paint peeling from the walls, suffused in orange sunlight and cluttered with heavy-duty tools, machinery, and materials.

The documentary photograph was significant for two reasons. It

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