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Gerhard Richter was in Lebanon for the opening of his 2012 solo show here, at the Beirut Art Center.Sitting in a Gemmayzeh cafe to chat with The Daily Star about "Slanted Squares," his current solo at the Sharjah Art Foundation, Rechmaoui briefly mused about what his works mean now, starting with "Untitled 12," his 2017 rendering of the Lebanese coast in 12 mesh panels, with a brass coastline separating beeswax above and concrete below.The SAF show also features scale models of three structures Oscar Niemeyer devised for Tripoli's international fairground, arguably Lebanon's most high-profile derelict public space.Curated by Zeynep Oz and produced in collaboration with SAF, the original exhibition (along with a book and a cash prize) came about after Rechmaoui won the prestigious 2019 Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art.The SAF version of "Slanted Squares" lacks the colorful "Tapestries," making it more monochrome and figurative. The color in the Sharjah show derives from a quite different source, a series of pastel drawings. "Zuqaq al-Blat," as one of the six drawings is titled, is an impressionistic art naif-like map of the Beirut neighborhood of Zoqaq al-Blat, highlighting Burj al-Murr and the Batrakiyya school.Rechmaoui said the drawings weren't just about doing something different from his elaborate models.
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