Ghazi Baker’s Suspension of Disbelief at Mark Hachem Gallery

Lebanese artist Ghazi Baker’s Suspension of Disbelief exhibition at Mark Hachem Gallery in Beirut focuses on how we as humans are able to suspend our disbelief at certain times and let our imaginations take over. The collection of around 20 paintings asks viewers to suspend their own beliefs for just a little while. The show starts on March 28.

Growing up, Beirut-based Lebanese painter Ghazi Baker was amazed by what he saw in films, fascinated by the ability to pursue the viewer in believing a story line, from Superman to Star Wars and even romantic films. Later in life, this fascination turned into a philosophical pursuit, a journey of discovery and research to find what really makes the viewer accept the premise of a film.

“We watch movies the same way older generations would read books, by shutting down our belief system and letting our imagination take over, in other words, suspending our disbelief, the term suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief has been defined as a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe something surreal; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment,” said the artist.

Suspension of disbelief is an essential ingredient for any kind of storytelling. With any film, the viewer has to ignore the reality that they are viewing a staged performance and temporarily accept it as their reality in order to be entertained. Baker wanted to experiment with the aesthetics of painting surreal and sometimes grotesque characters to “see if the viewer would be willing to suspend disbelief and convince himself that he/she is looking at actual audience members watching a specific movie and reacting to it,” he said.

Through his exhibition ‘Suspension of Disbelief’, Baker divides his work into two symbiotic elements, the transmitter and the receiver, the movie and the viewer and in the case of his paintings, the painted audience becomes the transmitter to the viewer of the painting, attempting to introduce the viewer as a new entity willing to possibly suspend their disbelief while looking at the paintings, “We, as human beings, want to believe in the fantastic, the surreal, the better and brighter. In my show, I chose to focus on a selection of movies to study their interaction with audiences,” said Baker. Surreal, fantastic, Suspension of Disbelief should be on you calendars.

The show will run until April 20.

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