Indian Pavilion debuts at Beirut Art Fair 2014

Lyla Mohammad

The 5th edition of Beirut Art Fair 2014 opens today at Beirut, playing host to the rich indigenous history and artistic expression of the Indian contemporary art.

From Delhi to Bombay, the Indian pavilion at the fair “Small Art is Beautiful – Dharma” celebrates small size artwork created around the Wheel of Dharma theme. The concept behind this display is to bring up an opportunity for visitors to perceive art’s greatness in its smallest sizes.

“We are extremely thrilled to host the Indian pavilion at the fair,” said Laure d’Hauteville, founder and director of the fair, which also welcomes 47 galleries from 14 countries featuring modern and contem¬porary art from ME.NA.SA region, including the GCC countries.

“Small Art is Beautiful – Dharma” - In focus
Based on the complementarity between the works of confirmed or emerging Indian artists, the Indian artworks explore the symbolic, conceptual, esthetic, economic and strategic dimensions of tiny objects and thus
plays on the harmonious interaction and the balance of powers.

Fabrice Bousteau, independent art critic and curator of the pavilion, translates the desire to present, within the fair, vibrant artistic scenes. His approach to the Indian Pavilion sets the fair apart from the now-typical rhythm and layout of traditional art fairs.

According to Bousteau: “The exhibition presents, through a selection of small format works, the transformations of an artistic scene which is constantly growing, changing and evolving, expressive and lively, strong and fragile, active particle and constituent power of the world of contemporary art at the same time”.

In Indian societies, the “dharma” is at the heart of the microcosm which links living beings to the macrocosm. The smallest particle is at the same time the product and pillar of the world’s order. The smallest one is as powerful as the biggest one. Any imbalance would jeopardize the harmony of the whole and provoke, via a causal phenomenon, the destruction of the universe in its entirety.

The Dharma wheel, which was chosen in order to convey the message of this exhibition, is a solar symbol, which guarantees these interactions, as well as the stability and continuity of the order and the uninterrupted cycle of the world’s movement.

In the light of this philosophy, the exhibition demonstrates that the impact of an object is not proportional to its size. Contained in their dimensions, the presented works impose themselves, question and address the eyes and the mind, through the delicacy of the gestures, the technical wizardry and the power of “small ideas”.

These small works are highlighted by a geometrical and radiant scenography similar to the mandala of the Dharma wheel.
Bousteau’s previous credits include co-curating “Paris-Delhi-Bombay: “India Through The Eyes of Indian and French Artists” at Paris’ Centre Pompidou focusing on the Indian subcontinent.


A hybrid fair, BEIRUT ART FAIR is very keen on the quality of the cultural program that it proposes. Every year, the program is devised by the artistic director Pascal Odille, who is also an expert at the CNES (Chambre Nationale des Experts Spécialisés, France), a critic, art historian and exhibition organizer.

“Our approach, which consists in opening up to all contemporary artistic practices, is the main thread of the cultural program that we propose every year.”

This program is elaborated throughout the year and draws upon our encounters and our “crushes”...
This freedom of choice, purged of any dogmatism, yet concerned with the quality of the exposed works, reflects the atmosphere of BEIRUT ART FAIR which is open to innovative and stimulating proposals for collectors”

Design has conquered a proper and significant place of its own within the contemporary art world. Within this context, BEIRUT ART FAIR presents, for its second consecutive year, a platform dedicated to young designers, with the participation of Philippe Tretiack. This initiative would not have been possible without BLC Bank’s support, who has been investing for many years in the promotion and support of Lebanese artistic development.
Based on Fadi Mogabgab’s idea, the Lebanese public will also have the opportunity to discover the art of engraving with an interactive workshop set up between the aisles of the fair. This initiative is supported by BankMed who is committed to sharing its passion for art and making it accessible to all.

With Byblos Bank’s support, BEIRUT ART FAIR confirms its commitment to Lebanese photography welcoming projects from 10 artists preselected for the BYBLOS BANK AWARD: May Arida, Hussein Baydoun, Angelo Beaini, Myriam Boulos, Sandra Fayad, Shogh Ian, Danielle Kassouf, Diana Mehrez, Richard Sammour and Nina Sharabati. This award, created in 2012, supports young Lebanese photographers and offers to its candidates a visibility on the international scene.

Video Art and Video artists are also celebrated during the fair through the VIDEO PROJECT curated by Silke Schmickl. This program entitled « Body Politics » is composed of a series of videos from the Middle East, North Africa, and South and South East Asia, which puts political and social issues into the perspective of contemporary artists.

BEIRUT ART FAIR demonstrates once again that it is open to different forms of creation by pursuing its artistic drive towards the exceptional. A must see event supported by the city of Beirut and Solidere, BEIRUT ART WEEK’s route, curated by Marine Bougaran, reveals twenty monumental projects : installations, sculptures and performances which take shape throughout the streets of the capital as they interact with the public.

Organized by Cedralys SARL since 2010, BEIRUT ART FAIR, with a focus on the ME.NA.SA ART, has established itself on the regional and international art scene with its unique positioning and in synergy with the collectors’ interests.

This region of contrasting cultures, which extends from Morocco to Indonesia, can now count with the presence of established artists and emerging stars in the art market.

BEIRUT ART FAIR enables to discover new artists, inspired by their heritage and their history turmoil, creating their artwork away from the globalization buzz, fashion trends and the star system.