The Third Line in Dubai is currently presenting What Happened to My Dreams?, Fouad Elkoury‘s latest photographic series. The artist, who lives between Paris and Beirut, earned a degree in architecture in 1979, but later turned to photography. He covered the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982 and has since been photographing war torn areas and landscapes in the Middle East. What Happened to My Dreams? consists of several black and white and color photographs mounted on aluminum, often with an overlay of written text. The title of the exhibition references the work of cultural theorist Paul Virilio (b. 1932), whose writings include Speed and Politics (1977), Pure War (1988), and The Information Bomb (2005). The author and filmmaker explores the complex relationships between technology, war, information, and society, asking the question “ce qui arrive” (what happened?).
Elkoury’s Smile, 2008, depicts three armed soldiers standing over an empty swimming pool, photographed with their backs to the camera. The young men look across signs of demolition and vacancy, with the ocean in the distance. The poignant text “what I miss most is your incredible smile” is handwritten across the bottom of the image in an elegant white script. The picture captures and stimulates a moment of personal reflection amidst an otherwise fragmented and militaristic world, evoking broader histories of both national and individual conflict.
Elkoury, born in Paris in 1952, took part in a collective series in 1991 capturing the aftermath of the war in downtown Beirut. The series was later published in the album Beirut City Centre and presented in an exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Following the war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, he created the photographic diary On War and Love, which was exhibited at Galerie Tanit in Munich and at the 2007 Venice Biennale. In 1997, he co-created the Beirut-based Arab Image Foundation, which seeks to archive and preserve photography from the region and increase the accessibility of the medium.
What Happened to My Dreams? will remain on view at The Third Line in Dubai until December 17, 2009.