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Marcel Duchamp, Boîte en valise, 1935-1941. Green linen imitation leather covered box containing mixed media assemblage/collage of miniature replicas, photographs, and color reproductions of works by Duchamp, Gift of Anne W. Harrison and Family in memory of Agnes Sattler Harrison and Alexina “Teeny” Sattler Duchamp, 2016.305, © Association Marcel Duchamp.

On leaving is a curatorial exploration of ephemerality in contemporary art practice of countries in crises. It investigates a common state of being that enables artists to produce a very specific type of work: one free of material, and thus, weight.


In Lucy Lippard’s book Six Years in which she argues the disappearance of the art object, she writes “conceptual art, for me, means work in which the idea is paramount, and the material form is secondary, lightweight, ephemeral, cheap, unpretentious and / or “dematerialized”.

I’m curious as to why our collective contemporary art practice is—in a way—so dematerialized. Why is the Lebanese contemporary art scene saturated with lecture-performances, video installations, photographic experiments, and archival research? Experimentation with paintings and sculptures is not particularly prevalent. The leading question: could this hypothesis extend to other countries in crisis?


When you are preparing to flee at a moment’s notice, how do you flee?


Nelly Chemaly, Infinity Bound, 1999. Site-specific intervention in the framework of the Ashkal Alwan Corniche Project. © Ashkal Alwan, Nelly Chemaly

Tania El Khoury, Cultural Exchange Rate, 2019. Film still. © Tania El Khoury

Studio Beirut, The lost room, 2007. Website. © Studio Beirut

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For more information, please contact Sean Lowry

Project Anywhere (2012-23) was proudly supported as part of a partnership between the Centre of Visual Art (University of Melbourne) and Parsons School of Art, Media and Technology (Parsons School of Design, The New School).

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