Beirut is a city of contradiction and paradox, a city where the past and the present entwine in unpredictable and unexpected ways, where the past with its memories and lingering scars of war burst through the ends of the city’s evolving contemporary identity.
Just as the city unites disparate elements into one cohesive whole, the exhibition “When Time Does Not Exist” unites two seemingly disparate photographic series about Beirut by two distinct photographers: Stephane Lagoutte (based between Beirut and Paris) and Randa Mirza (based between Beirut and Marseille).
The series “Beirut 75-15” by Stephane Lagoutte is the result of three years’ work. The photographs of present-day Beirut were taken during Lagoutte’s numerous visits to the city, while he was wandering its streets.
By contrast, Randa Mirza, in her ongoing series “Beirutopia”, looks into the imagined future of the city. Her series showcases Beirut’s striving to regain a long-gone glamour and revive the old myth of a city commonly referred to as the “Paris of the Middle East”.
Both photographers take the present-day city of Beirut as a departure point for a symbolic travel in time, in search of the city that has been forgotten and the city that has yet to be created.