painting of naked woman's back hunched over with red no entry sign painted over the top

Dead End, 2015 by Mouna Rebeiz

Artist Mouna Rebeiz at work on a large painting of a woman's face

Mouna Rebeiz in the studio

French-Lebanese artist Mouna Rebeiz lives and works in London and is debuting her second solo show in the capital at the Saatchi Gallery, The Trash-ic or Trash in the Face of Beauty. Showcasing 17 works of mixed media – including digital and musical installations – the exhibition explores the expression of natural tensions between beauty and its counterpart, the grotesque and ugly, in art and society today. She tells LUX why she supports the charity Innocence in Danger and how internationally renowned designers and artists came to create their own unique ceramic piggy-banks to auction at Sotheby’s in aid of the charity.

1. In your view, what’s the role of the artist in contemporary society?

In any society at any time, the role of an artist is that of a mediator between what the world would have one see and reality itself; they make you see things. Like oracles or “la pythie” they are translators — between gods/nature and humans.

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2. Do you think our perception of beauty has changed as a result of social media?

No. Art has made us change our perception of beauty, because art is a translation of our era. It’s art that makes us see beauty in a different way. That’s why we see trash in beauty; because we are in a period of time where trash is glorified.

Silhouette of woman holding bottles against an orange background by artist Mouna Rebeiz

L’insoutenable légèreté de l’Etre by Mouna Rebeiz

3. How would you define ‘trash’?

Trash is something you don’t want to live with, something you reject, something you want to discard. That’s trash. Could you live with a trashcan that smells? No. It’s not meant to be lived with. Ugliness is not necessarily trash; hideous things can be beautiful.

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4. How do you think your fine art training has informed your contemporary practise?

You can write an essay without knowing the alphabet. You cannot build a building without a foundation.

Artist Mouna Rebeiz sits amongst bespoke piggy banks

Mouna Rebeiz with the piggy-banks designed by the likes of Buccellati, Christian Lacroix, Emilio Pucci, Esther Freud, Etro, Giles Deacon and Swarovski

5. How did you select the artists and designers to create piggy-banks for the online auction, and why the Innocence in Danger charity?

I was lucky enough the designers chose to work with us. As for IID, I’ve been supporting them for 15 years because I believe its the hardest thing to deal with, children who are abused. And I don’t think humanity, the “civilised world” is as civilised as it proclaims to be. I think we are barbarians.

6. What’s next for you?

Big things are on the horizon — I’m going to continue in this “trashic” theme and merge beauty and trash together in a way that’s never been seen before.

‘The Trash-ic or Trash in the Face of Beauty’ runs until 7 June at The Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, London. For more information on visiting the gallery click here.

To view the silent auction of piggy-banks visit: www.trashicauction.co.uk