08 Feb 2024 - 21 Mar 2024

Danse Macabre

Mina Image Centre


Mina Image Centre is thrilled to announce “Danse Macabre – From Urban Perils to Raving Revelry,” a multimedia exhibition by Abed Al Kadiri presenting a new body of work created between 2020 and 2023.

This exhibition, an ambassador project by the Beirut Museum of Art (BeMA), unfolds at Mina Image Centre on the 8th of February 2024, with a series of interventions, a dance performance, a panel discussion and workshops. 

The exhibition delves into the intricate relationships between dance, trauma, and belonging in contemporary Lebanon. Far from being a stark contrast to the political turmoil and haunting legacies of death since the civil war. Al Kadiri presents these elements as integral responses, serving as acts of survival and healing—a collaborative practice in the face of the nation’s societal and institutional collapse.

Drawing inspiration from the medieval tradition of Danse Macabre, where Death led dancers—both living and dead—in grim celebrations, Al Kadiri’s canvases visually metaphorise the euphoric space of dance’s disconnection from reality. However, this disconnection is continually tethered to the traumatized body and Beirut’s urbanity. The project sheds light on the emergence of the dance macabre during the past cycle of crises Beirut went through, turning the nocturnal and raving scene into an unexpected sanctuary for new communal safe space and collectivity.

In a multimedia showcase featuring six large canvases, a video animation, and two performances, Al-Kadiri explores the underground scene as both a refuge from and an expression of trauma and loss. The works intertwine the artist’s personal journey between Beirut and Paris. “Danse Macabre” opens a window onto a vast spectrum of emotional and psychological experiences, from despair and sorrow to defiance, escapism, solidarity, and deep dissociative states of Lebanon’s recent history, reflecting on the nation’s socio-political paralysis that has depleted the nation. The compounding of crises: a stumped revolution, an incarcerating economic collapse, a pandemic, and the largest non-nuclear explosion of this century have plunged the country into free fall.

The project relies on artistic collaboration inviting both Victor van Wetten and Jad Atoui for the realisation of an animated video and sound installation room. A dance performance will take place at the opening reception using Al Kadiri in-situ mural, as a platform to engage physical movement, and the act of erasing, featuring Lebanese contemporary dancer Jimmy Bechara who uses his body as a collateral form of expression suggesting a new representation of the canvas.

A publication designed by Lynne Zakhour will be released with a conversation between Abed Al Kadiri and Marc Mouarkech and enriching interventions by Juliana Khalaf Salhab – Co-Director of the Beirut Museum of Art (BeMA), Clemence Cottard – Artistic Director of the Beirut Museum of Art (BeMA), Joanna Andraos – Clinical Psychologist-Psychoanalyst / Visual Artist, and George Tabatadze – Musician and Researcher.

A rave performance in collaboration with Frequent Defect will be announced at a later stage, inviting the public to dance and create a new work with the artist and to be added to the exhibition.

Press release from Mina Image Centre

Image: Abed Al Kadiri. The Egg. 2022. From the series Danse Macabre. Charcoal, pencil and oil on canvas. 200 x 145 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Mina Image Centre