On Absent Forms and Missing Wars

Anneka Lenssen, Sarah Rifky, John Menick

We cordially invite you to a special closing reception of A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost. There will be multiple takes on the shows at Beirut, Townhouse and CIC, a special Freudian screening, and a summer bash with drinks, music and dancing.

Sarah Rifky will introduce the program and present a short text that thinks of the current exhibition A Guest Without A Host is a Ghost musing on the original as art object and situating that within her Delusions of Reference: In Defense of Art.

Anneka Lenssen will talk on The Medium. Taking works by Walid Raad/Atlas Group as a starting point, she will discuss a series of performative moments of "hosting" a message in material, medial form and will seek to point toward a metaphysical art history that can link this exhibition to a longer history of avant-garde working and writing in the region (and beyond).

The reflections around the exhibition will be followed by an eclectic collection of Freudian moments. Starring Sigmund Freud (2012, 28 min) by John Menick is a video memento for Sigmund Freud’s little-known film career. It collects over 50 appearances that the character of Freud has made on films and television programs. After the 1950s, when pill vials replaced analytic couches, the father of psychoanalysis found a second career impersonating himself in everything, from a John Huston clunker to a Star Trek episode, which are gathered in this video compendium. A collection in film, and of films, of the father of psychoanalysis’ multifaceted cinematic appearances.

Adelita Husni-Bey, Habiba Effat and our very own Jens Maier-Rothe will hit the turn tables. Imagine dance floors and summer drinks. It is real. See you there.


A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost brings a selection of contemporary artworks from the Kadist collections in Paris and San Francisco on a nine-month residency to Cairo. From over 500 existing entries in the Kadist collection, Beirut appointed a group of thirty artworks to reside as temporary guests in the city. The project speaks to the absence of collections and museums dedicated to contemporary art in Egypt, and draws on local partners spanning not-for-profit and private art galleries and other cultural spaces, to engage more closely with the hosted works.

Anneka Lenssen is an art historian and critic, just now concluding her position as assistant professor in the department of the arts at The American University in Cairo and about to begin work as an assistant professor in the history of art department at UC-Berkeley in the U.S.

Sarah Rifky is a writer and curator and co-director of Beirut.

John Menick is an artist, writer, computer programmer, and professional spectator. He makes video and audio works, as well as writes essays and fiction. His first book of collected prose, A Report on the City, was published in 2012 by Walter König press. John Menick (b. 1976, USA) lives and works in New York.