A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost evolves in two chapters. The first features an exhibition co-hosted by Beirut, Townhouse and the Contemporary Image Collective to publicly introduce our guests and hosts to each other. The second chapter departs from the exhibition as form, encouraging the artworks to have a life of their own and feel 'at home'. Some artworks will be invited to go on a journey to new homes, offices and spaces in the city. Others will become objects of inquiry in workshops and seminars, to feature as special guests in other projects, and form the base for new artist commissions and responses by local and visiting practitioners.
Would ghosts exist without their hosts? Would they haunt a world without us?
In various ways and forms, the artworks selected for this project elicit notions of an absent presence, both real or imagined, of artworks, collections, memories, discourses, voices, histories and stories that are concealed from entering our world. What is barred has a way of pressing itself against our conscious life and finding a way to be present, through the potency of our imagination, thought, memory, hallucination. The exhibition is mindful of images particularly their reproducibility, and their role in photography and cinema. Central to the project is also the object-hood of images, and of artworks.
The uncanny disappearances of shapes, lines and forms escaping the trauma of war, and inhabiting the spaces around works of art (Walid Raad) tell us that works are also sites around which histories accumulate. The historical facts and fictions, and stories that are told, transform the essence of photographs, as records and as images. The ghostly presence of an army of boots marching through the US mail system (Eleanor Antin), the fatherly figures of former shop owners overlooking their legacy (Taysir Batniji), the institutional palimpsests in the changing face of a city (Nicolas Consuegra), the hallucinatory appearance of visual forms after periods of confined darkness (Melvin Moti), all reflect back to the beginning: What appears in place of an absent presence?
With works by Francis Alÿs, Eleanor Antin, Eric Baudelaire, Taysir Bhatniji, Zarina Bhimji, Jennifer Bornstein, Patty Chang, Nicolas Consuegra, Julien Crepieux, Hans-Peter Feldman, Aurélien Froment, Ryan Gander, Jiří Kovanda, John Menick, Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger, Laurent Montaron, Charlotte Moth, Melvin Moti, Ciprian Muresan, Walid Raad, Anri Sala, The Propeller Group & Superflex, Mungo Thomson, Danh Vo, Ulla von Brandenburg, Carey Young and Akram Zaatari.
A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost is made possible with the generous support of the Kadist Art Foundation and the Embassy of France in Cairo.
Special thanks goes to Institut Francais d'Égypte, Gypsum Gallery, ArtTalks, Tycho, Nile Sunset Annex, Cimatheque and Medrar for their vital support to this project and the local community.