28.11.2024 – 2.2.2025
Ali Cherri’s multimedia practice encompasses film, video installation, drawing, and sculpture. In his work, the Lebanese artist and director positions the political realities of his childhood in Beirut during the decade-long Lebanese Civil War, in parallel with moments in history represented by (archaeological) artefacts. His works offer a nuanced exploration of the human condition, often oscillating between the personal and the universal, the past and the present. Through this lens, Cherri examines the impact of political conflicts and social upheavals on individuals and communities. His films and documentaries provide profound insights into cultural and geopolitical realities, while his sense for visual storytelling as well as profound research elevate the films to thought-provoking experiences.
Of Men and Gods and Mud (2022), for example, Cherri shot at the Merowe Dam on the Nile River in Northern Sudan. It follows a group of brick makers as they shape these fundamental building materials from mud. In the early 2000s, the construction of the largest hydropower plant in Africa led to the displacement of more than 50,000 people, social unrest, the destruction of ecosystems, and the submersion of cultural sites and artifacts. In Cherri’s video installation, the gargantuan power plant looms over the arduous manual labour of the brick makers, giving rise to an allegorical tale that merges land and water, drought and deluge, destruction and creation. Cherri was awarded the Silver Lion at the 59th Venice Biennale for his celebrated three-channel video installation.
Recent works look at the role historical objects play in the construction of national narratives, following the artefact from the moment it is dug up until it appears on the art market or in a museum display and the corresponding semantic change. Not only does Cherri reveal what these objects say about us by tracing their historical, societal, natural or cultural aspects. He also shows us the force by which they are transfigured into fetishes, idols, totems or commodities and are thus made to embody a new kind of narrative. Throughout his practice, Cherri asks: “How should we inhabit our material world? How can we be more receptive to vibrant materiality? Would our analysis of social and political events change if we paid more attention to the force of things?”
geboren 1976 im Libanon, lebt in Paris.