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Rayyane Tabet, "Auditorium", 2021. Installation with lights, sound, decommissioned IBM Eames chairs. Exhibition view Walker Art Center.
Rayyane Tabet


Rayyane Tabet (b. 1983, Achkout, Lebanon) has been invited to Mudam within the context of the exhibition A Model, opening early 2024. The exhibition presents a profound reflection on the role of museums today, via the practices of artists who take a critical approach to the institution of the museum and others who have been convened to use Mudam’s collection as the point of departure for their work. The exhibition affirms the need to think of the museum as a living site engaged in contemporary debate, rather than simply a site of presentation. A Model imagines the possibilities that can emerge when museum collections are encountered as active and performative environments, versus an accumulation of objects to be preserved in an immutable and timeless display.

As a prelude to the exhibition A Model, Rayyane Tabet was given carte blanche to develop a site- specific project for the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion. An architect by training, the artist’s work is precisely based on the analysis and comprehension of sociocultural contexts. His work combines historical and subjective memory to offer an alternative reading to the official narrative surrounding his object of study, and to open it up to new meanings. Rayyane Tabet also attaches great importance to the spaces in which his projects are embedded. The articulation of his installations in the exhibition space takes into account the historical framework of the architecture, revealing its particularities as much as its contradictions.

In response to the invitation, the artist has devised Trilogy, an installation that unfolds around three pivotal periods of contemporary history. The interwar period is evoked through the presentation of elements from a room from Sanatorium Paimio by Alvar Aalto, a central ensemble of works in Mudam Collection. Conceived between 1930 and 1933, this furniture is emblematic of the functionalist research and humanistic thought of the architect, who designed it in such a way that, through its various functions, it contributed to the well-being and even rehabilitation of its residents. Following the same principle of aggregating memories and material forms, the artist also revisits the period that witnessed the emergence of Mudam’s building, as well as other creations by its architect Ioeh Ming Pei: the Pyramid of the Louvre in Paris and the annex of the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. Architectures of their time, characterised by big glass-paned surfaces, transparent and open to the outside – they serve as metaphors for the tipping point in history brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union at the turn of the 1990s. Lastly, Rayyane Tabet references the explosion that took place on 4 August, 2020, in the port of Beirut by integrating, in part, an ensemble of works produced from fragments of glass retrieved on site; a means of imagining a form of symbolic repair.

Rayyane Tabet (b. 1983, Ashqout, Lebanon) has held solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2021); Sharjah Art Foundation (2021); Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York (2020); Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London (2019); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019); Musée du Louvre, Paris (2019); Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes (2018) and Kunstverein in Hamburg (2017). He has taken part in numerous international group shows, among which the Whitney Biennial 2022, the 7th Yokohama Triennial (2020); the 2nd Lahore Biennial (2020); the 21st Sydney Biennial (2018); Manifesta 12 (2018), the 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017); the 32nd Sao Paolo Biennial (2016) and the 10th and 12th Sharjah Biennials (2011, 2015). Rayyane Tabet lives and works between Beirut and San Francisco.


Mudam Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion
  • Bettina Steinbrügge, with Clément Minighetti, Sarah Beaumont and Joel Valabrega