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Retrospective 1995-2020, Joseph El Hourany


Jusqu'au 15/05/2021

    Joseph El-Hourany is an architect (M.Arch 1999) and urban planner (MS 2005) who lives and works in

    Lebanon. He is also titular of two bachelors in philosophy (BA 2003) and musicology (BA 2007). From

    2006 till 2010, he conducted a doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    in cotutelle with the University of Quebec in Montreal. In his doctoral thesis, he treated the

    architectural parametric principles in the age of cybernetics. Since 1999, Joseph is working on several

    architectural and urban planning projects in Lebanon and abroad; besides, he is teaching and

    lecturing in different research institutes and universities. He published “The Future Of The Past” with

    John Carswell in 2003, “Specimen Zero” in 2010, “Specimen One” in 2011, “Guvder” in 2012 and

    “Henri Edde architecte” in 2019. He participated in “Aley International Symposium of sculpture”

    (1999), and exhibited several versions of his “mind maps drawings” at LA CENTRALE (2007, 2008

    -Montreal), UQAM (2008 – Montreal), Museum St-Hilaire (2008 – Quebec), Stata Center (2009 –

    Boston) and ALBA (2011).


    Using morphing and mutation tactics, my sculptures are not pretending to be a particular innovative

    aesthetic. It looks much more at the overall interplay between the initial idea/sketch and the used

    wood or material. In its abundance making, a procedural experimentation is the origin of the

    unpredictable forms. As such, experimentation in sculpture has nothing to do with neither

    composition nor style. In whichever creation process, it has to do with no-finality, with the perpetual

    path to another form; it provokes what comes after, what appears, and what will be seen. It can

    spontaneously absorb additions, subtractions, and technical modifications, without disturbing its

    essential order.

    It is difficult to categorize the different typologies of my sculptures and memorize them; It is elusive

    except when we see it. All the sculptures faces and sides have equal importance for me. They do not

    have predetermined hierarchical relations. It is a form, therefore, indebted to the fluctuating

    processes that shaped it.


    In the combinatorics units and assembled modules, each sculpture variation can represent multiple

    developments processes that generate its design objectives. Many tactics during the sculpting

    process fulfill the complementarity; some are especially apt to describe the character behind the

    piece: similar yet different. The used sculpting practices can be characterized in folding,

    form-finding, deconstructed geometries, free-form and hybrids. All these categories describe

    development and variation of the form independently of either physical constraints or the

    limitations of the simple geometries. The supple biomorphic meets up with deconstructed solids, the

    bodily with the prosthesis. When viewing these sculptures together – portraits, human bodies

    without organs and organs without bodies – all spring to mind, but so too biomorphic, ornaments

    and simulacres. One can even imagine them as part of an unknown ritual practice, which is in fact

    plausible given that I am a passionate collector of all kind of design objects.


    In my practice, the imaginary assumptions of both geometrical and polymorphic typologies assumed

    that a direct correlation exists between abstract forms (intellectual) and figurative forms (sensate).

    While the two strains of thought might seem different, one being primarily problematic and the

    other fundamentally architectural, both rely solely on the same procedure of tangible figuration. The

    reliance on the figurative aspect to justify form wholly empowers both the intellectual and the

    sensate perceptions.


    Saleh Barakat Gallery


    Clémenceau, rue Justinien



    Event side1 (square shape or rectangular where the height is bigger than the width)