Ali Cherri’s work explores the temporal shifts between ancient worlds and contemporary societies whose logics tend between the constitution of a foundation origin and the myth of unlimited progress. His work explores the links between archaeology, historical narrative and heritage, taking into account the processes of excavation, relocation and museification of funerary remains, which are a violence to timeless cultural practices in the very sense of archaeological sites. His interest in this “science of the beginning” and the practices and institutions that are associated with it – classifications, mythological narratives, universal museums, collections of casts, etc. – has led him to carry out speculative and poetic works which, in the words of Marcella Lista, “assume above all an erosion of certainties and engage in a visual mediation based on mismatched truths”.
His various artistic gestures, starting from the observation that archaeological history manipulates artefacts of ruin and survival, invite us to reconsider our apprehension of objects and spaces and the way they mediate stories of power, identity and belonging.
Ali Cherri (born in Beirut) lives and works between Beirut and Paris. He belongs to a generation of Lebanese artists born during the Civil War whose practice has been strongly affected by this context of instability.
Recent solo exhibitions include From Fragment to Whole (Jönköping County Museum, 2018), Programme Satellite 10: Somniculus (CAPC Centre d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and Jeu de Paume, 2017), A Taxonomy of Fallacies: The Life of Dead Objects (Sursock Museum, 2016). His work has recently been exhibited at the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (Valencia), Jameel Arts Center (Dubai), Para Site (Hong Kong), MAXXI (Rome), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Manifesta 13 (Marseille, 2020), the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art (Ekaterinburg, 2019), the 8th Melle International Biennial of Contemporary Art (Melle, 2018), and the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017).
He is the recipient of a Harvard University’s Robert E. Fulton Fellowship (2016) and a Rockefeller Foundation Award (2017), and was shortlisted for The Abraaj Group Art Prize (2018). In 2021, he is the Artist in Residence at the National Gallery, London.
His works feature in many important public collections: Art Jameel (Dubai), Musée national d’art moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), MACBA (Barcelona), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Sursock Museum (Beirut).
His work was included in the gallery’s first exhibition in 2010.