Curated by Charbel-joseph H. Boutros
Crisis Practice is an exhibition that groups a new generation of Lebanese
artists who were born during the war and who have mainly completed their
art studies abroad, a crucial remoteness that contributed to their
The aim of this exhibition is to show new trends, practices and attitudes within the Lebanese contemporary art scene that do not represent images of war, but are rather haunted by a buried malaise, reflection of an unstable history. The artworks presented in the exhibition Crisis Practice possess a conceptually autonomous presence that harbours a critical and political approach: a diary of absence, an impossible itinerary..., and an accumulation of preoccupations pervaded by a poetic disorder.
Workshop Gallery is a new 14.3m2 contemporary art exhibition space located in the suburbs of Beirut, a platform for emerging Lebanese and international artists.
Portal was created from feeding a single piece of paper into a domestic printer over and over again until it became saturated with ink. The coloured ink builds up on the surface of the paper to form a thick layer of velvety material. The result looks like a hole in the wall, a void, vacuum. The image thus becomes consumed by its own 'material': the ink, and flatness becomes a form through the gradual accumulation of layers, revealing the potential of space, as a surface, in which edges are paramount.
Caline Aoun was born in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London, in 2005 and went on to earn a Postgraduate degree in Fine Art from the Royal Academy School, London, in 2009.
Her work has been exhibited in a number of group exhibitions, including Minus 5, Lebanon, Exposure 2012, Beirut Art Center, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London and A Foundation, Liverpool. Other recent exhibitions and contributions include Now (Obsolescence, Regeneration & Criticality), Schizm magazine issue four Matter, APT gallery, London, Friendship of the Peoples, Simon Oldfield, London, Paperplane, Joinery Dublin and LCGA Limerick, Returning to Form, Store Gallery, London and Scape, Sartorial Project Space, London. Caline Aoun lives and works between London and Beirut.
In her practice, Caline Aoun employs minimalist and conceptualist strategies that involve the phenomenological paradoxes of matter and the passage of time. Her artworks draw attention to surface effects through their apparent material and process of production. At times, they confuse our perceptions because of their almost immaterial look. Indeed, her works play with the viewers’ senses and challenge their preset knowledge of the physical laws of matter. This becomes her way of insisting on a purity and integrity of the material that we often forget about.
A big part of Aoun’s practice examines the current excess of production of mediated images. In this day and age, the production of the image is evolving dramatically with the fast development of digitization and networking technology. As a response to the technological evolution from the analog to the digital, as well as the overload of information and media-based production, Aoun re-defines the image as an active object whose meaning is inseparable from its material realities. As she experiments with the limits of the mechanical processes through which images are produced, Aoun derives a sense of nostalgia of the material of paper; an old reality that is now slowly disappearing in an almost fully digital age.
Caline Aoun’s practice finds comfort and engagement in the process of repetition. Repetition generates meaning in the production of an artwork; it shows that the work is not merely a representation of an idea but a life-giving concept. Indeed, through her different works, the repetitive processes reveal the daily, repetitive and constructed realities that blindly surround us: they are the disruptions, the purposeful malfunctions, the signs of waste, the tiredness and the failures of representation.