The doors of perception
Born around 1930, a number of Lebanese artists heirs to the academic tradition undertake, without consulting, each one on their own behalf, to reverse the function and meaning of drawing. Instead of reproducing the common visible world, drawing will now produce the private world of each of them. An invisible world of inner uncharted territories they have no inkling of. It is the complex delineation and tracing out of the lines and colors of those territories that will reveal them to their eyes. By pursuing the obscure object of the desire to draw, guiding the design or guided by it, as appropriate, Laure Gorayeb generates labyrinthine compositions and networks with multiple dimensions and connections. The organic black lines of her meandering miniaturelike
creations enmesh faces, figures, houses, animals, and political, social, and poetical comments in open, potentially infinitely expanding compositions. But there is always a limit, an outline which, paradoxically, confers monumentality to the work. An adept of the geometric line instead, Huguette Caland intersects warps and wefts, tracing meshes and weaves derived through the persistent iteration of a scarce repertory of elementary graphic signs, straight lines, points, squares, grids, and tessellations. Nevertheless, she enjoys the same freedom of approach, critical sharpness, and casualness as
Ghorayeb. In a way, she builds up her drawings line by line and layer by layer, to produce a kind of abstract stratigraphy. This seeming paucity of means generates an endless variety of creations, not only in drawing but also in painting. In both cases, the artworks require much time and a lot of patience to be deciphered, possibly as much time as the artists needed to complete them. Such an approach was not limited to those artists, others did the same. Seen from our perspective, it is even a generational phenomenon: the times were ripe. Too many upheavals were happening in the world for them not to have had echoes, at least on a subconscious level, in the minds and hearts of ultrasensitive artists.
Here, drawing is a complication mechanism, as they say in watch-making. But instead of promoting more precision within a finite frame, this graphic machinery, contrariwise, promotes more openness, freedom and creativity to better apprehend the infinite disorder of a world gone haywire. In 1965, Laure Ghorayeb wrote a premonitory poem in the margins of one of her first miniatures: «Truth veils its face, plagued by visions ... .Birds without wings ... Irony dances over a beheaded corpse.» Inverting the gaze inwards through drawing without rules or constraints, a drawing which is another kind of free poetical writing, results in opening the doors of perception, the doors of thought, intuition, imagination, and visions.