“The art of Fareed Armaly is an art of passage, of the distances and conflicts between signs, between words and things. For his first Paris show, titled the (re)Orient, this former assistant to Joseph Kosuth interrogates the West’s image of the East, Paris’s image of Beirut, the museum’s image of the world. Armaly takes this approach because it is in the distance between “here” and “there,” in the intermediate space between them, that contemporary meaning, with all its difficulties and cracks, is to be found.
Through a small dormer—window set into the glazed door of the gallery one could see an extract of Godard's film Bande à part, the scene showing three figures running through the hall of the Louvre. Clearly a metaphor the distance imposed on us by the space of the gallery staked out with signs and references, scraps of the real and the made-up which serve to reorient our fragmented vision of an East in crisis.
Reusing the constitutive signs and statements of our vision of the East is for Fareed Armaly to weave unsuspected semantic links between real and fictional places, between written history and lived time, between the museum and the imaginary. So many new combinations of signs, scraps of knowledge and bursts of reality which elaborate a broken fragmentary syntax of the contemporary. To rethink the Orient is to attempt to reorient ourselves “here,” in Paris, in the halls of the Louvre, in the gallery at the very moment when “there” in Beirut the mirror is breaking under the blows of a disordered history. Confronted with the impossibility of thinking historically today, this contemporary artist gives urgency to an essential element of our era, a seizure of the present outside the empty time of the media.”