‘Fleeting Acts’ is a series by Lebanese Photographer Munir Abdallah which explores the transitory, transform, and ritualistic acts of homosexual couples. The opening of the exhibition will take place on November 28 at 6 pm at ARTLAB Gallery.
Fascinated with nudity, and freedom of sexual expression, Abdallah traveled to Bulgaria in 1982 to study cinematography. At a time where homosexuality was still very underground and less socially accepted, he was forced to leave Bulgaria due to his sexual orientation.
Intrigued by the human body, Abdallah’s fascination was discovered at a very young age. Inspired by works of art such as Michael Angelo’s David, the 1974 erotic drama Night Porter, and the work of photographers Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon, he decided to focus on his career in photography and began to photograph nude images of himself and his boyfriends upon his return to Lebanon in 1986.
Working in photography caused a sense of aversion in Abdallah, which led him to let go of the medium for ten years. Throughout his journey, Abdallah worked as a journalist, learned how to play the kanun at a music conservatory, he was an art critic for Society magazine, and he was the managing partner in Bardo a pub/restaurant in Beirut. In 2015, a sense of urgency to go back to photography took over Abdallah, who updated his camera and equipment to practice the medium.
Controversial, and almost pornographic, Abdallah generated around two thousand images shot between 2016 and 2018. These photos explore intimate affairs, of Arab homosexual men.
Regarded as intensely voyeuristic, and sexually charged his photographs have been subject to censorship on many social media platforms.
While Tumblr allowed Munir to display his images, under stringent conditions, it forces individuals looking to view Abdallah’s work to enter the URL linked to the Tumblr account manually.
Facebook limited Munir, by prohibiting not only the images but also any links that may lead to the graphic visuals.
Instagram has not tolerated any photos and has banned Abdallah’s prior account indefinitely due to a photograph portraying an oral sexual act between two men.
These fascinating illustrative photographs reveal much about how the male body has been culturally encoded. It also shows some of the distinctive ways in which photography – as opposed to other media – deals with this most loaded and contentious of subjects.
As an LGBT rights activists, Abdallah’s future photographic work will focus on themes related to homosexuality in Lebanon. As an initial step, he will be launching his series ‘Fleeting Acts’ on November 28 at ARTLAB Gallery.
A body of work comprised of twenty-seven images selected from his archives, ‘Fleeting Acts’ explores the transient, transformative, and ritualistic acts of homosexual couples.
By feeding his voyeuristic fantasies, Abdallah is shedding light on the rights of a society that is just starting to become recognized.
Mounir’s ‘Fleeting Acts’ exhibition opening will take place at ARTLAB Gallery on Wednesday, November 28 at 6 pm.
The exhibition will run till December 22.