26 May 2023 - 15 Mar 2025

Beyond Ruptures, a Tentative Chronology 

Sursock Museum


The exhibition Beyond Ruptures, A Tentative Chronology, explores three chronologies in the form of a historical account: that of the Sursock Museum, of its exhibitions, and of the significant local socio-po­litical events, drawing parallels with the artistic production of the country. The timeline recounts each historical rupture of the Museum as they intersect and interconnect with the cultural world. This exhibition, based on the Sursock Museum’s archival materials and documentation of the rehabil­itation works, identifies and highlights six interruptions throughout its sixty-two years of existence: from the first rupture between 1952–1961, which resulted in a legal battle to transform the residence of Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock into a Museum, to the most recent Beirut Port blast on 4 August, 2020. Beyond Ruptures includes works of Aref el Rayess, Jean Khalife, Samir Khaddaje, Samia Osseiran, Shafic Abboud, Said Akl, Akram Zaatari, and Nesrine Khodr as a testimony and tribute to the cultural resistance led by artists, cultural workers, and art patrons, in the challenging environments Lebanon has presented over the years. Selected works in the timeline, mark important events in the lives of each artist, and act as time capsules showing different artistic practices shaped by violence. As Jalal Toufic once wrote in his book Undeserving Lebanon; “Should the Lebanese who were born prior to the cessation of their country’s civil war in 1990 say: ‘We went through a dreadful civil war and foreign invasions, but we lived to tell the tale?’” Here, we lived to tell the tale. In May 2023, the Sursock Museum will reopen for the fourth time since 1961.

Curated by: Karina El Helou
Exhibition design: Jacques Aboukhaled and Mind the gap
Exhibition graphics: Mind the gap
Researcher and writer of the timeline: Ashraf Osman
Text by: Gregory Buchakjian
Archivist: Rowina Bou Harb
With the support of: Commercial Insurance

Press release from Sursock Museum

Image: Installation view of Beyond Ruptures, a Tentative Chronology at Sursock Museum, Beirut, 2023. Photography by Walid Rashid. Image courtesy of Sursock Museum