“An Uncanny Impulse”
La Fábrica is co-publishing a selection of photographs with Casa Árabe
and the Arab Image Foundation (AIF) which show the culture and
sociopolitical reality in Lebanon from 1920 to 1960.
July 19, 2017
Accompanying the photos is the transcript of a conversation between collector Mohsen Yammine, with Clémence Cottard and Marc Mouarkech, curators of the exhibition of the same name that can be seen at Casa Árabe, within the framework of PHotoESPAÑA 2017, until October 8.
Information on the work:
112 pages| Spanish - English | 16 x 22 cm Public retail price: €25 |
ISBN l 978-84-17048-20-4
“An Uncanny Impulse”
In 1975, Lebanon was immersed in a civil war that would last fifteen years, driving the country into chaos and completely breaking up its identity. As of 1979, journalist Mohsen Yammine began to collect photographs of the country, by both well-known photographers and amateurs. His mission was to save this photographic heritage from the destruction that surrounded him at those very difficult times for Lebanon.
“An Uncanny Impulse,” co-published by La Fábrica, Casa Árabe and the Arab Image Foundation, is the catalogue for the exhibition of the same name to be hosted by Casa Árabe as part of the events in PHotoESPAÑA 2017. It will bring together a selection of images from Yammine’s immense archives (see video).
These archives provide some of the finest testimony of Lebanon’s documentary heritage from 1920 through 1960. As pointed out by Clémence Cottard and Marc Mouarkech, the exhibition’s curators, “the origin of that first impulse to collect photographs, begun in that fourth year of the civil war in Lebanon, lay in an act of love. A love which turned into a passion for a country, its history and its culture, all trapped by violence at destruction.”
Yammine’s work began in his home town of Tartar and later continued in Tripoli, Koran, Batroun, Zahle, Baalbek and Beirut, at different moments in time. Mohsen Yammine’s collection consists of 1,400 pieces, including negatives on glass, paper and film, as well as prints. In addition to collecting photographs, the archives contain a great deal of information on the photographers.
It is a living collection, because Yammine himself has made sure to expand it through his own research, and his images now comprise an exceptional, indelible mark left behind by everything that war destroyed.
“An Uncanny Impulse” brings together works by different photographers, including both professionals and amateurs. This is because the main criteria to select works for the collection was to show society from different points of view, with amateur photographers providing a different viewpoint, distant from photographic movements.
Collector Mohsen Yammine’s cooperation with the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut began twenty years ago, after entrusting a part of his collection to that institution. This cooperation has led to the international showing of the materials which make up these personal archives.
About the Arab Image Foundation (AIF)
Created in Beirut, Lebanon in 1997 as a non-profit organization, its task is to preserve, analyze and disseminate the photographic heritage of the Middle East and North Africa, providing a realistic, thorough view of the Arab world.
Its photography collection is made up of more than 600,000 images and objects divided into thirty collections, one of which is the Mohsen Yammine collection. You may consult these collections through their online database, which provides information on all of its projects, as well as the images.