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Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige live between Paris and Beirut, where they were born at the very end of the 1960s. For the last 15 years, they have focused on the images, memory and history of their country, the Lebanon, its wars, its conflicts, its political battles. Photographers, video and film-makers, they present exhibitions (We Could Be Heroes Just for One Day was recently welcomed at the Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris), collections of images (like Wonder Beyrouth, a series of seaside postcards reworked to reflect the bombing of Beirut during the civil wars) and make films (the beautiful A Perfect Day and, this year, the unexpected I Want to See, for which they guided Catherine Deneuve across Southern Lebanon). Their way of using political documents, archives, landscapes, symbolic sites to make critical
images of them by adapting them, by making their deterioration felt and by stressing the effects of time and memory is both very personal and collective. Because Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige fit into the context of a country where many young artists, who know and support each other, raise questions on the presence, absence, manipulation and the very meaning of images, comparing a mythic and idealised past with another past of destruction and war, and a present made up of complexities and uncertainties. If they work as a team, it is in fact to attempt to better look at these images and better make them speak: "When you're alone," they reply, "you can always lie to yourself; when there are two of you, it's more complicated."
After the exhibition ... "Like Oases in the Desert", presented in 2009, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige have returned to the Festival d'Avignon in 2010 with History of the Wind, a work on memory commissioned by the Festival d'Avignon and the Centre national des Arts plastiques, with the Ministry of Culture.