©Isabelle Giovacchini

rayyane tabet

Born in 1983 in Ashqout, Rayyane Tabet lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. Tabet's work explores paradoxes in the built environment and its history. His sculptures often reconstitute the perception of physical and temporal distance. He received a Bachelor in Architecture from The Cooper Union in New York and a Master in Fine Arts from the University of California in San Diego.

For Faisons de l’inconnu un allié, Tabet presents Genealogy a twenty-metre long structure, articulated around five identical display cases. Part sculpture, part presentation device, the cases stand for Tabet’s family tree, with each shelf representing one generation. Some shelves are populated by a patterned piece of textile or by plain canvas fabric, while others are left empty. These three statuses evoke the fragmentation and dispersion of the family’s heritage – a 20-metre long rug given to Tabet’s maternal great-grandfather by a Bedouin tribe in Tell Halaf in 1929 while working on an archeological expedition there. Before his death in 1983, with no inheritance to leave behind, Tabet’s great grandfather decided to cut the rug into five equal pieces for each of his children with the recommendation that they, in turn divide the rug among their children and so on and so forth until the object eventually disappears. Today the rug is in 26 pieces spanning five generations.     

Genealogy reflects the artist’s explorations of museum display strategies, in particular those used to represent missing fragments and information. It is complete with a narrative told by the artist throughout the show, which draws on the story of his great-grandfather who was drafted by the French to act as a translator for the German archaeologist Max von Oppenheim in Tell Halaf and gather intelligence information on the expedition he was doing there. The evolving text weaves historical facts with autobiographical elements that address the topics of destruction and dispersion of heritage objects: from von Oppenheim’s discovery of the Tell Halaf temple in the early 20th Century and its subsequent relocation and destruction in Berlin during WWII, to the partition of the family rug.


Joining Forces with the Unknown exhibit location:
16 rue Debelleyme (previously Weber Métaux store)
75003 Paris

Hours: 11 AM - 10 PM
Every day from October 11 - 23, 2016

Free entry.