Songs of Ordinary Madness





Beirut Blogtopus May 2012

Well, the Songs of Ordinary Madness opening night came and went, though seemed to sustain over a period of nights of further ordinary madness. Here are some photos from the show:

Show me another exhibition opening with a variety of edible treats and drinkable beverages. Various salamis, prosciutto, pickles, olives, walnuts, dried apricot, home made cake, stuff I don’t know the name for, etc…

A sizable wheel of cheese that came from Ghana…

So, the piece I had on show was one I made especially to fit the theme. I am pleased with my result and response to the theme and was aware it’s pretty much commercial suicide in terms of creating something salable as I can’t imagine there’ll be many people who want my face rotating on their wall, but anyhow.. it’s called ‘Circumlocutions’. As far as I recall, the initial e-mail asking if I wanted to participate suggested departing from the idea of looking at what inspires you from how others see you. Yeah, so my reaction was that it is impossible. It made me think of the self, and then of subjectivity and objectivity, and somewhat fell into territory I was familiar with. Through this channel though, I did realize that all the things I previously felt as self-analytical actually say more about us as humans in general, than they do about me, considering how I see myself isn’t really how I am, and how you see me isn’t how I am either, etc.. So, I went ahead and painted my first ever self portrait with a text that spirals out, focussing on the push and pull of things, cyclical nature, complicated ways to say something graspable in one simple feeling that I find difficult to translate into words, etc.. Circumlocutions..

See a video of it here.

The show also featured work by Talar Aghbashian who will be in town next week, Youmna Habbouche who had some nice shoes indeed, Yijun Liao who presented a nice ass, Emi Miyashita whom I’m a big fan of, Laura Pharaon who remains a mystery, David Siepert who cleverly melted some Swiss sweets into the shape of a bathtub, which is now melting in the gallery in the Lebanese heat, Reid Peppard who had fellow exhibitor Robert Storey bring a dead pigeon with him from London to Beirut. All in all, an eclectic bunch.

In other news…

I spent a day last week with 12 year old Makhlouf Chris-Roi at the Paradis d’Enfants school in Jounieh, Lebanon, in order to create an art work collaboratively, which will go to auction, with money raised going back into the school. I think it’s a great project and there are several artists around town teaming up with some of the students to create art in this program. Here is the painting Chris-Roi and I created…

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with some more fragments of news, observations, etc…

– Carlo

Perusing in the LBN





Beirut, April-May 2012

I was going to post a large and potentially difficult to digest entry after the ‘Songs of Ordinary Madness’ exhibition opening on the 8th May but I decided to write a post pre-exhibition, with some photos of Beirut as I’ve been clicking the camera.


In some areas, you do see buildings like this, reflecting remnants of war time.

As you can see, it will apparently re-open in 2013 as a museum of some sort. Seems optimistic. Stay tuned..

There are pretty flowers and wondrous trees growing around the place, which brightens things up a bit. The architecture is quite beautiful in general. Some from Ottoman times, and then there are some with French influence, from the time of the French mandate.

A curious window display is visible from the main highway that runs through Beirut, showing off what is described as the ‘Teenager 2012 Fiction Collection’. A multi-coloured assortment of naked mannequins are representatives of this collection.. of invisible clothes? Or, are they themselves the collection? Teenage mannequins? The collection is fictional; it doesn’t exist? Anyhow, I pass by this window everyday..

I was also humored by this incredible life size horse item with lamp built into its head, that I saw through the window of an interior design gallery, which was closed. I would have gone in otherwise and stroked the horse.

Last night I went and checked this out at the Django Pub near Gemmayze:

So, it was Maki Hachiya on vocals, in Japanese (I wonder what she was saying), and other uses of voice including grunts, sounds reminiscent of animal noises, and vocal exercises. Raed Yassin on double bass. Paed Conca on clarinet. Both playing with exquisite technique. An enjoyable evening. Maki Hachiya is doing another show in a few days, playing ‘experimental guitar’ at a place called Metro (I think) in Hamra. Might go check it out.

To my surprise, Gerhard Richter currently has a show on at the Beirut Art Center. I missed the opening night, and it turns out he was there and selling 60 signed copies of the exhibitions’ accompanying book. Would have liked to be within smelling distance and possibly got a photo with the guy. Oh well. This photo of me bumping heads with the mystical Slovenian endurance swimmer, Martin Strel from a couple years back will have to suffice. If you don’t own his dvd Big River Man, I urge you to check it out. It follows him as he swims the whole length of the Amazon river.

I’m feeling like a bit of an endurance blogger now. Are you still with me? Here’s me, starting to work on some large paintings at The Running Horse, who have provided me with space to work in during my stay.

The opening of the ‘Songs of Ordinary Madness’ exhibition is on the 8th May and the show runs til June 12th. I am bored of typing and hyperlinking now but here is the flyer with info regarding artists in the show etc…

 I’m looking forward to the diverse range of creations, art and cocktail contraptions. I’ll post some photos after the opening.

Catch you next time then.. whoever you are.

– Carlo

Boy in Beirut





When the Roof Touches the Floor…

Well, the opening of Desires, Nightmares, and Dreams II took place at The Running Horse Arts Space in Beirut last Monday, and as expected it was an enjoyable affair.


With limited access to internet and fragmented time allocation, I failed to post anything while in Beirut, but I had a dimensional experience as expected. Unfortunately the battery on my ‘less than impressive but functional none the less’ camera didn’t have much life and the only thing I forgot in London was the charger, so I don’t really have any interesting photographic evidence to post.

The food in Beirut is exceptional. I eat more here because of it. Notably, my favourite fruit ever, Pomelo, exists here. Sadly it was out of season but this didn’t stop me from eating a fair amount of Pomelo during my stay.

My guess would be that maybe 67% of cars in Lebanon have dents and scratches. In fact, driving through town one day, there was a car in the other lane that was almost cut in two straight down the middle, with the middle point of the roof smashed down so that it is touching the floor. How this can happen while a car is driving, I do not know, but more surprising is that there wasn’t a chain reaction of affected vehicles during this accident.

The opening of Desires, Nightmares and Dreams II was enjoyable and I was the victim of two interviews. One was with a young lady reporting for either 1) A feminist magazine 2) A magazine called Femme 3) A magazine called Fame. I’m undertaking the detective work to find out which of these is accurate. The other interview was with a young lady who I believe was visiting from France and I still don’t quite know what she was doing in Beirut but she said she’d found out about the exhibition and whilst there decided it might be interesting to document it for her video-something-rather. Who knows!?




The feedback from the show was positive and there have been some interesting results. I just may be selling my largest and arguably most valuable piece. I really enjoyed showing alongside Emi Miyashita, Aaron Johnson, David Siepert, and target=”_blank”>Greely Myatt‘s works. I am especially fond of Emi’s work and own a couple of her drawings myself. Aaron Johnson’s stuff is fun too.. Click on their names in the previous sentence to check them out, if you so desire.

I’ve brought back a few Giclée prints from the ever so limited edition of the drawing ‘Over-Load‘ which was in the show. These are for sale at £45.00 each or the equivalent in whatever currency you use, reader. Shipping will depend on where you are located. They are printed in K3 ink on 310g Hahnemuhle Photorag archival paper and are signed and numbered in pencil. Image size: 29.7 x 21 cm, Paper size: 40 x 30 cm. There were only 15 of these made and so don’t ponder on it too long if you think you might really want one!


Lastly, there was quite an enthusiastic Spanish girl interested in ‘found art’ at the opening to whom I recommended the three part documentary Journeys Into the Outside. Spanish girl, if you are reading this, I am aware that it’s quite difficult to find any copies of this documentary. I have it on my computer and can send it to you if you like, so let me know. I’m sure you’d be really into it.





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