Drawing from lived experience and self-directed research, Beirut-based multidisciplinary artist Rayyane Tabet offers alternative understandings of major sociopolitical events through the exploration of individual narratives. Informed by his training in architecture and sculpture, his work investigates paradoxes in the built environment and its history through installations that play with the perception of physical and temporal distance.
His works include the ongoing series Fragments, a body of work begun in 2016 that takes as its starting point an early 20th-century archaeological dig in Tell Halaf, Syria, where the artist’s great-grandfather served as a translator during the excavation. Weaving together family stories with official accounts, Tabet offers a window into understanding complex contemporary geopolitics—in particular, questions surrounding the preservation of cultural artifacts and migration patterns—through the lens of the historical past.
For this exhibition, Tabet is creating a new installation for the Walker that begins with a time capsule discovered on the site of what was once an IBM manufacturing facility in Rochester, Minnesota. From there, he weaves together an array of subjects—the founding of Minnesota; the rise, decline, and reinvention of IBM computing technology; the industrywide shift from hardware to software; and elements of modernist architecture and design—to tell a story that spans two centuries: 1858–1958–2058.
Curator: Victoria Sung, assistant curator, Visual Arts