Welcome to the wonderful world of Plastik, Plastik with a K that is, a new bi-monthly magazine published by Beyond Productions, a dynamic collective of young and creative Lebanese. Proud to be from Beirut, yet not necessarily a publication on Beirut, Plastik is a celebration of beauty and creativity with a global perspective. Loosely based on a theme, every issue offers a series of original photo stories and a healthy mix of talented and more established names from the international world of art and culture. Critical, at times ironic, though not afraid to offer praise when praise is due, Plastik is always on the look-out for the thin line between the real and the fake in that ever more global world of ours, which seems to turn faster by the day. In the year that iconic all-American doll Barbie turned 50, Plastik presents The Dolls Issue, as we ask ourselves: is the doll a reflection of society or has society increasingly become a mirror of the all-plastic world of dolls and puppets? While we do not pretend to have the final answer in store, such modern-day giants as David LaChapelle, Yayoi Kusama and Victor & Rolf present their point of view, as they have all playfully tackled that most essential of questions: What is real? In addition, when reading about the lives and careers of the featured artists, one could argue that a second theme emerges from in between the lines. All these creative souls, from Banksy to Elie Saab, believe in the power of imagination and share an incredible will to fight and succeed, at times against all odds.
“The people that look the most artificial are often the most real”
Although she has lived in a mental institution since 1975, Yayoi Kusama is still regarded as Japan’s greatest living artist today. With solo exhibitions in major museums in France and the United States, Kusama has become a well-respected artist worldwide. Playful and childlike as her works may seem, they are the result of a journey that led the now 89-year-old to the edge of insanity and even suicide.
Traveling around the globe and leaving behind a trail of thought-provoking images, Banksy is without a doubt the world’s most famous graffiti artist. Having worked the streets for years, Banksy has also produced works on canvas worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fanciest of galleries. And yet, apart from a small circle of close friends, no one knows who Banksy really is.