(Beirut, b. 1954)
A self-taught artist, Tanbak works across painting and installation,
with a particular focus on historical and conceptual themes.
At the intersection between research and visual form, the artist
deploys singular strategies to approach her complex subject
matters (warfare and warriors, the movement of the body in space,
abstract color fields, the nature of art).
Since 1997, she has been widely exhibited in Lebanon. Musée
Sursock, 1998, 2000, 2003; Agial Art Gallery, 2002.
The state of being in transit is no longer
a novelty or an exception, but a political reality shaped by
the globalization narrative of a borderless world, safeguarded
behind endless borders, fences and invisible division lines:
Vast swathes of the earth are now inhabited by peoples in transit:
Refugees from war, victims of genocide, internal and urban displacement,
city slums and stateless people. Drawing on her childhood memories
from the Armenian ghetto in the Bourj Hammoud of the 1960s and
1970s, Tanbaks canvases materialize the condition of the
temporary dwelling as a seamless and uncontrollable
dystopian growth. Painted in neutral white, these architectural
installations cum sculptures-paintings, shed light on a body
politic obscured by anonymity and invisibility. Using fragile
materials, Tanbaks work bears witness to the untold stories
of these invisible persons. The ubiquity of these hidden cities,
on the margin of our cities, is an acute reminder of the way
we live now: Always in the elsewhere, everywhere and nowhere
at the same time.