Multi-faceted installations in “Rayyane Tabet: Deep Blues”

An architect, sculptor and artist by education Rayyan Tabeta (born 1983, Ashqout, Lebanon; lives and works in Beirut and San Francisco) explores the specifics of the built environment through multifaceted installations that play with the perception of physical and temporal distance. Combining personal stories with official accounts, Tabet’s work often provides another lens through which to look at the past as well as its unexpected connections to the present.

For your first commission wa US museum, Tabet has created a new installation focusing on the intersection of architecture, design and technology. His research began with a visit to a former IBM facility in Rochester, Minnesota. Designed in the 1950s by architect Eero Saarinen, the building was characteristic of the mid-century transition from industrial to post-industrial work in the United States. From there, the artist uncovered a web of connections in the firm’s history that includes Saarinen, architect Edward Larrabee Barnes (who designed the Walker Building in 1971), and designers Paul Rand and Charles and Ray Eames. Informed about this study, Rayane Tabet: deep blues it includes a multi-part sculptural, light and sound installation and goes beyond the gallery space through a site-specific architectural intervention.

Echoing the famous two-tone blue IBM Rochester Building, Tabet transformed a 60-foot wall of Walker glass windows into a translucent blue landscape – applying Saarinen’s patterned design to the Walker façade. The gallery, bathed in blue light, cycles through ten shades of IBM’s corporate color spectrum. End-of-life IBM Eames chairs hang from the ceiling in a kind of memory theater. The sound track, performed by an artificial intelligence trained to read the script, reflects the modulation of the artist’s voice. Ultimately, Tabet creates a probing space that blurs the boundaries between dematerialization, identity, and objectivity.