Ali Cherri
Un Cercle Autour Du Soleil | 2005
15 min. Ed.1/5 (+2 AP)

As the camera slowly pans out a cityscape partly in ruins, we hear distant yet piercing car horns. We discover Beirut, through the eyes of Ali Cherri, whose childhood was scarred by the Lebanese Civil War - probably just as much as the buildings that are unfolding on the screen. The ruined architecture of early 20th century Beirut collides with that of late Ottoman Beirut, until it is eaten away by a wall. This wall represents the perpetual political battlefield that is Beirut : photographs of politicians are plastered on it. Yet, the urban scenery that is unveiling is the product of a montage and is purely fictional. This is Cherri’s Beirut, the one he built up in his imagination while growing up. Beirut the battlefield could also be “Beirut the playground”, a utopic yet apocalyptic land. His voice describes the intimate presence of the war throughout his childhood. His words are haunting, for although he depicts being “freed from his shadow”, the artist’s voice expresses little relief. The war may be over, but the issue of identity remains. He evokes the discovery of his own identity, through the war and its end. The end of the war meant the discovery of a whole new city, and so he embarks us on a journey into his consciousness looking at post-war Beirut.

Reference AC-VVI-2005-A

Biography of the artist

Born in Beirut, Lebanon. 1976
Works and Lives in Beirut and Paris

Ali Cherri is a video and visual artist based in Beirut and Paris. He is currently conducting a research with the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) and the Deutsche Aarchäologische Institut (DAI) on the place of the archeological object in the construction of national historical narratives. In his videos, drawings and sculptural installations, Ali Cherri dissects the geopolitical situation in Lebanon and its neighbouring countries with a distanced as well as involved look. Fragile basements and a history of earthquakes in the region seem to reflect the perpetual crises. Digital manipulations create an intense and distressing confusion between the real and the virtual. Cherri seeks new perspectives, different points of analysis between fall and rise, archaeology and the conquest of space – from Pipe Dreams to Bird’s Eye View. His recent exhibitions includes Desires and Necessities at MACBA (Spain, 2015), Lest the Two Seas Meet at Warsaw Museum of Modern Art (Poland 2015), Mare Medi Terra at Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma (Spain, 2015), Songs of Loss and Songs of Love at Gwangju Museum of Art (South Korea, 2014).