FRAGMENTS explores an archeological dig led by Max von Oppenheim, a German diplomat and ancient historian, in Tell Halaf, Northeast Syria, at the turn of the 20th century. In 1929 Tabet’s great-grandfather, Faik Borkhoche, was appointed by the governing authorities of the French Mandate stationed in Beirut as von Oppenheim’s secretary to gather information on the excavations the latter was conducting in the village of Tell Halaf in Syria. This encounter leads Tabet to uncover a story that connects his family to major historical figures. He raises questions on the survival of heirlooms, the preservation of archeological artifacts, cultural appropriation, museological practices, and migration patterns.
FRAGMENTS includes a performance, drawings, sculptures, personal belongings and ready-mades which, together, become a multifaceted large installation. Against the backdrop of complex contemporary geopolitics, Tabet reconstructs the material remains of the Tell Halaf palace, tracks stone reliefs scattered in museums around the world, and assembles carpet fragments. Following the deconstruction and reconstruction of remains through the accidents of history, across time, generations and continents, the show draws on autobiographical notes and self-directed research, to explore stories that offer an alternative understanding of major events through individual narratives.
Rayyane Tabet (b. 1983, Achqout, Lebanon) lives and works in Beirut. He received a Bachelor in Architecture from The Cooper Union in New York and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of California in San Diego.
He has had solo shows at Kunstverein in Hamburg (2017), daadgalerie, Berlin (2017), Witte de With center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2017), Museo Marino Marini, Florence (2016) and TROUW Amsterdam (2014). His work was featured in Manifesta 12 (2018), the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018), the 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017), the 32nd São Paulo Biennial (2016), the 6th Marrakech Biennale (2016), the 10th & 12th Sharjah Biennial (2011 & 2015), and the 2nd New Museum Triennial (2012).
He is the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award of the Sharjah Biennial (2011), the Jury Prize of the Future Generation Art Prize (2012) and the Abraaj Group Art Prize (2013).