Forma

ŠamaŠ

ŠamaŠ is a monumental multimedia installation work by Lebanese artist Zad Moultaka which questions how we locate the sacred and profane in a global world of mechanised war and increasingly abstracted connectivity. A monument to the Babylonian God of the Sun, ŠamaŠ combines musical invention with visual research in a radical approach in which technology is born from the archaic. 

Sound is at the core of the work; as 32 voices sing Moultaka’s new composition Hymn to ŠamaŠ, distorted recordings of engines envelope the space. A contemporary reimagining of the Code of Hammurabi, which was engraved on a tall, black basalt stele nearly 2,000 years ago, takes the form of a near perfect example of a 1960’s British made fighter jet engine, standing upended before a wall of aged coins fused to panelling. The space is in near darkness, aside from selective golden spotlights, suggesting tribal fire-lit caves and traditions of sun worship.


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ŠamaŠ

Zad Moultaka
2017

ŠamaŠ is a monumental multimedia installation work by Lebanese artist Zad Moultaka which questions how we locate the sacred and profane in a global world of mechanised war and increasingly abstracted connectivity. A monument to the Babylonian God of the Sun, ŠamaŠ combines musical invention with visual research in a radical approach in which technology is born from the archaic. 

Sound is at the core of the work; as 32 voices sing Moultaka’s new composition Hymn to ŠamaŠ, distorted recordings of engines envelope the space. A contemporary reimagining of the Code of Hammurabi, which was engraved on a tall, black basalt stele nearly 2,000 years ago, takes the form of a near perfect example of a 1960’s British made fighter jet engine, standing upended before a wall of aged coins fused to panelling. The space is in near darkness, aside from selective golden spotlights, suggesting tribal fire-lit caves and traditions of sun worship.

  • Touring

    14 August – 7 October 2018
    11am – 7pm (Tue - Sun)
    Preview: 13 August 2018
    Levyhalli, Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland

http://forma.org.uk/assets/_large/SamaS-Venice-001-Marzio-Emilio-Villa.jpg

Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Marzio Emilio Villa

http://forma.org.uk/assets/_large/SamaS-Venice-002-Marzio-Emilio-Villa.jpg

Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Marzio Emilio Villa

http://forma.org.uk/assets/_large/SamaS-Venice-005-Marzio-Emilio-Villa.jpg

Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Marzio Emilio Villa

http://forma.org.uk/assets/_large/SamaS-Venice-003-Marzio-Emilio-Villa.jpg

Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Marzio Emilio Villa

http://forma.org.uk/assets/_large/SamaS-Venice-004-Marzio-Emilio-Villa.jpg

Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Marzio Emilio Villa

http://forma.org.uk/assets/_large/SamaS-Venice-006-Wladimiro-Speranzoni.jpg

Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Wladimiro Speranzoni

http://forma.org.uk/assets/_large/SamaS-Venice-007-Wladimiro-Speranzoni.jpg

Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Wladimiro Speranzoni

http://forma.org.uk/assets/_large/SamaS-Venice-008-Wladimiro-Speranzoni.jpg

Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Wladimiro Speranzoni

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Zad Moultaka, born in Lebanon in 1967, lives and works between Beirut and Paris. As a composer and visual artist, Moultaka has been exploring these two worlds for many years, seeking to harmonize musical and visual research. At the invitation of major festivals, he has created: Zàrani (2002), Nepsis (2005, based on a poem by Etel Adnan); La Scala del Cielo (2006); L’Autre Rive (2009); La Passion selon Marie (2012); Il Regno dell’Acqua (2013); Hummus (2014); and La Passion d’Adonis (based on texts by the exiled Syrian poet Adonis, 2015-2016). As a visual artist, Moultaka has regularly exhibited his work in Lebanon, Venice, and Paris, including at the Institut du Monde Arabe, and in the framework of Nuit Blanche. In 2017, Moultaka created ŠamaŠ, a monumental visual and sound installation for the Lebanese Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennial. Moultaka is represented in Beirut by Galerie Janine Rubeiz.

Credits

ŠamaŠ was created by Zad Moultaka in 2017. Commissioned by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture for the Lebanese Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition. Curated by Emmanual Daydé. Produced by Nadine Saddi Zaccour, co-produced by Forma.

Partners: Governing Body of Suomenlinna, HIAP - Helsinki International Artist Programme, The Honorary Consul General of Finland in Lebanon and Mrs. Zafer Chaoui

Sponsors: Saastamoisen Foundation, City of Helsinki, Chorus of the Antonine University with direction from Toufic Maatouk

Supporters: IRCAM, Forma, Mr. and Mrs. Berndt Brunow, Fondation Fouad & Toufic Fadel, Mr. Risto E. J. Penttilä

Previous performances

2018

Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon

 

2017

57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy

Background image: Installation view, Zad Moultaka, ŠamaŠ, Lebanon Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2017 © Association Sacrum. Photo: Marzio Emilio Villa