New sculpture by Bernard Ghanem unveiled at MACAM
A new work by the Lebanese sculptor Bernard Ghanem that highlights the risks of ignoring imbalances in society was unveiled at the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MACAM) in Alita, Byblos, Lebanon.
Titled ‘Society’, and created in iron plated and pipes with a sleek black finish, the six-meter sculpture is typical of Ghanem’s work, which is regarded by many as open form at its very best.
Ghanem’s sculptures are known for relaying powerful and emotive messages on aspects of the human condition and life’s challenges. In this latest piece, he explores the pressures put on the working classes when they bear the burden of supporting the privileged few.
To relay his message, the base of Ghanem’s work consists of triangles which depict a community that is hardworking, but headed downward, and prevented from moving freely by a binding frame. Their efforts are directed upwards to a higher layer of triangles, which symbolize the ruling class, namely the community’s leaders and politicians, who for the most part enjoy peace of mind and a trouble-free life. Significantly, the middle class is not present in the work.
Ghanem, who was present at the unveiling ceremony, explained that he had wanted, in the work, to illustrate the pivotal role played by the middle class as a link between the upper and lower levels of society, and the negative effect that its erosion could have on the less fortunate.
“Its absence can lead to destruction and chaos,” he warned. “With this sculpture, I set out to spread awareness of the need to liberate the lower classes, treat it humanely and restore balance to society through the middle class.”
The six-meter-high iron sculpture is the artist’s second donation of large sculpture as he had donated a seven-meter metal sculpture to MACAM just after its inauguration. Both are placed in the developing sculpture garden of the museum.
About Bernard Ghanem
A self-taught sculptor, Ghanem was born in Keserwan in 1963 and holds a business degree from the Pigier Institute in Lebanon.
He is widely admired for his ability to create refined works of art from everyday materials. Sometimes dynamic and at other times more contemplative, his pieces reveal a deep understanding though his chosen medium of the aesthetic power of every bend and spatial component.
Ghanem’s first exhibition took place at Galerie Epreuve d’Artiste, after which he became an associate artist of the Sursock Museum’s ‘Salons d’Automne’ for a five-year term.
Since then, he has held individual exhibitions at Galerie Agial and the Plaza Club in Broumana. Ghanem has also taken part in several group exhibitions in Beirut, Sharjah Biennale, UAE, and the UK. His pieces can be found in permanent private collections, including those of Lady and Lord Hutton, the Fire and Iron Gallery, the Surrey Sculptural Trail in the UK and the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum – MACAM, in Alita/Byblos, Lebanon.
Inaugurated in 2013 as a non-profit organization dedicated to reviving the memory of art in Lebanon, documenting and preserving it for the present and future generations, MACAM (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum) holds a rich archive of more than 1500 books on Lebanese art and 500 files about Lebanese artists. It also provides educational tours, creative workshops and lectures for school children.
MACAM hosts each year retrospective exhibitions of Lebanese masters, as well as competitions and temporary exhibitions. Its permanent collection of 350 modern sculptures and installations by 115 artists welcomed more than 17,500 visitors since its inauguration.
Opening hours of MACAM: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 am till 7:00 pm
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