« Mare Astra
15 OCTOBER - 31 DECEMBER 2022
The island where the sun was born »
In the Lebanese collective imagination, Lebanon could well take the form of an island, a small territory of the Levant suspended between communities and continents, battered by the waves of history. Land marked by multiple civilizations and full of myths: of a legendary bird flying over the sea and consumed by the flames which is always reborn, of forests with eternal trees which watch over the gods, the mountains and the valleys. Fertile Lebanon, devoted to the Sun god as to the white of the snow, is now sinking into an inexorable and tragic fall.
In fabulous traditions, the island embraces these fascinations for an isolated territory, a forgotten or never found miniature world where the best and the worst are possible, a dreamed or alienating territory, hatched in the middle of the oceans. The island, in its promise of an elsewhere, is also this guardian of long and circular temporalities where the forces of good and evil mingle with geological curiosities, magical flora and fantastic fauna to bear witness to a creative consciousness of before men.
The exploration of myths, cosmogonies and stories related to the creation of the world is one of the common threads of Ghassan Zard's approach. In the continuity of a sculptural production linked to fantastic bestiaries and a pictorial practice dedicated to the shore, to the imaginaries of water and land, the thought of the island has become since January 2022 a central mechanism of his approach. . For Zard, the island forms the topos (the place) of withdrawal as the place of all possible renewals. This would be in the same movement, intimately linked to the metaphor of creation. Indeed, the island in its isolation evokes a mystery: that of a telluric, oceanic and celestial genesis. In the cosmogonic and then cartographic imagination, it is a complex suspended world or a lost point that has become an allegory of a territory to be reached, a quest that is as much geographical as psychic and spiritual.