Marwan Rechmaoui is a Lebanese artist whose work often deals with themes of urban development and social history. His Beirut Caoutchouc is a large black rubber floor mat in the shape of Beirut’s current map. Embossed in precise detail with roads and byways and segmented into 60 individual pieces demarcating neighbourhoods, Rechmaoui’s installation scrutinises the physical and social formation of one of the world’s most conflicted cities. Through this piece, Rechmaoui highlights these divisions to question the underlying causes and consequences of cultural difference, affiliation, and identity, and explore how the city’s troubled history has both impacted and shaped the everyday lives of its inhabitants.
Rechmaoui has meticulously sculpted a flattened floor map of Beirut in the form of a puzzle composed of 60 thick rubber pieces that correspond to the city’s 60 distinct quarters. While Rechmaoui’s mysterious blackened mass shows roads and highways that have been precisely etched into it and that mark off different neighborhoods and areas, its primary concern is not to delineate Beirut as it is but rather to subtly raise questions about its present layout like who lives where and what has determined these divisions…
A Monument for the Living
Untitled 22 (The Arab World)