Works from the ‘Return of the Beast’ series
By Ali Cherri
Curated by Henry Heng Lu, Centre A
Borrowing its title [Return of the Beast] from Tarik El-Ariss’ eponymous text, [Ali] Cherri’s exhibition [at Imane Farès gallery] reckons with this inherited dichotomy, in a logical continuation of his reflection on another historicalbinary, that opposes nature and culture. This questioning is expressed through Cherri’s knack for assemblage, which he has perfected by borrowing aspects from the botanical and medical technique of grafting. This serves to create a myriad of hybrids, in which different fragments are patched together—from forlorn things too much sought-after artifacts, from naturalized raven claws to other unrecognizable remains.
His new body of works expands on these hybrids but is more anthropomorphic. Hybridity and monstrosity are no longer located elsewhere, in a distant otherness, but within the human body, as evidenced by the moldings populating the gallery. A ceramic face protrudes from the wall and stares ahead, its eyes heavily underlined in black. It recalls the Eye of Horus, a symbol from Ancient Egypt that served to protect or to warn, and transpires an ominous feel that could be linked to another Latin etymology of the word monster, monere, meaning to prevent or caution. A closer look reveals that two glass eyeballs are peering at you. These prostheses, used to heal the sight after an enucleation, leave us with an interpretive dilemma. Is the assemblage a protective ritual object, or is it the fatal announcer of a blinded future?
Formerly objects uprooted from various sites, these objects return our gaze.
(Source: excerpt from Line Ajan’s exhibition text www.alicherri.com/return-of-the-beast)
Presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival and the Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransitBC