This project aims to study a nostalgic impulse in contemporary art through artistic practice. More specifically, it questions the means and the forms mobilized in an artwork to convey the return of past, recent or present, everyday gestures and events.
Nostalgia, primarily diagnosed as a physical illness in the seventeenth century, was defined by psychologists in the nineteenth century as an intimate affect oriented towards historical and geographical displacements. The aim of this research project is to look at the phenomenon of nostalgia on a microhistorical level, by examining how an artwork can shift contemplative nostalgia towards concrete action: a praxis concerned with transforming emotional anxieties of specific communities into different kinds of artistic production.
As a longing for lost times and places, nostalgia is not only considered as a mnemonic process, but also as a force capable of altering chronological forms of historical narration. Furthermore, while it is possible to regain physical access to specific places, those sites are emptied from their original conditions. Confronted with these disorientations, this study asks how an artwork can invest in the plasticity of time and space in different social contexts having experienced moments of political disenchantment.
Understanding nostalgia through microhistory is the entry by which a pragmatic approach to art is adopted, and psychological and philosophical references are read. The contextualized art practice engages a study of the anthropological, sociological, historical and political conditions of the concerned frameworks.
Maha Yammine (1986, LEB) is a visual artist working mainly in sculpture, installation, performance and video. These mediums support a reflection at the intersection of several horizons – political, social, cultural, and historical – that extends from the particular to the common. Yammine collects and reactivates stories lived by people. Through her artistic practice, she aims to transform nostalgic contemplation into new forms, actions and experiences.
Yammine obtained her MFA in painting from the Lebanese University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Beirut, Lebanon (2014) and received her DNSEP (MA) from the ESAD Valenciennes, France (2016). She was part of the 'Cité Internationale des Arts' art residency in Paris (2017) and participates in 'Post-diplôme' at ENSBA, a post graduate art residency in Lyon, France (2017-2019). Yammine participated in several group shows in Lebanon, France and Italy. Her most recent show and publication are entitled 'Panem et Circenses' (2018).