As an artist inspired primarily by the experience of lived history, I investigated at first the symbols of political violence in Lebanon through quotidian symbols embodied in ordinary objects. These found objects, inscribed with traces or memories of certain events, become markers of certain objective conditions fluctuating between history and psychology. My interest in the objects of war stems not necessarily from the need to represent violence or trauma, but to expand the consciousness of perception associated with everyday life and its different manifestations of cultural production. In my practice, I re-purpose these objects beyond the monumentality associated with memory sites and turn to a relational engagement with the object through aesthetic interventions: The interplay of identity between memory, material and a re-arrangement of symbolic values. Throughout the last decade I have been occupied with different performative aspects of language and how the communicability of certain experiences codifies experience into a new syntactic arrangement, making use of the traditional subject-object relationship but at times merging and subverting the roles. In the absence of clear-cut referents to describe phenomena in the objective world, once there referents have been either erased by trauma or relocated spatially due to transformations in the morphology of living sites, objects become narrative and linguistic bodies with a two-fold function: Their physical enclosure makes manifest the muteness and isolation of the sign/symbol alluded to, while at the same time a psychic frontier opens up, liberating the concrete message and enabling stories to be appropriated by the audience beyond referentiality and context. The autonomy of the artwork relies here not on sculptural saturation but on an unmediated emotional connection with the viewer, independent of formal aspects. Exploring this relationship between language and objects, I began to look at religious traditions and the act of reading as one of the primary sites for translation, transposition and juxtaposition between symbols, experience and linguistic meaning. The interface between belief and reading, deeply embedded in signs and objects, mimics accurately the loss of strictly historical consciousness, to be replaced by an ampler, more universal access to perception of phenomena in general. Is there perhaps a symbiosis between language and reality? Can this process be abstracted from the strictly retinal while yet open to general experience? The iconoclasm where Islamic and Protestant traditions meet, not unlike 20th century abstraction, aim at a kind of experience which is aural and acoustic. The Koran in braille, designed to allow reading for the blind and the sight-impaired, presents us with a particular case of intersectionality between reading, representation, phenomena and perception. Finding a spatial and sculptural form for this act of reading, one is confronted again with both mutability and muteness of signs


The artist community of laments the passing of Métaportrait. We are keeping this website online as tribute to the memory and life's work of Métaportrait, RIP.

 MétaportraitMetn, Lebanon01 68 07 30