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Artifacts - wood - Variable dimensions - 2018 / Ongoing

In agricultural botany, a graft is a sprout inserted into a slit on a trunk or stem of a living plant, from which it receives sap. In medicine, it’s a piece of living tissue that is transplanted surgically to replace diseased or injured tissue. Grafting is often used to create new varieties or species, and it can sometimes be made between different species, that is, human and animal. By performing the assemblage of fragile things, a new appearance, a new life is granted. These hybrids give us a glimpse into the power of matter. By looking at the life cycles of objects and the complexity of preservation and representation of matter, the relationships and tensions between the organic and synthetic, figurative and the abstract, the found and made object are revealed.

For Art Basel Unlimited 2024, Almine Rech is delighted to present an installation by Lebanese artist Ali Cherri.

In the arresting video work The Watchman, the character Sergeant Bulut dutifully maintains a solitary vigil atop a remote watchtower. Night after night, Bulut scans the horizon, awaiting an enemy that never materializes – until the sudden appearance of strange lights disrupts his routine.

Through this simple narrative, The Watchman deftly deconstructs the ‘myth of duty’ that undergirds omnipresent war rhetoric. Bulut’s Sisyphean task lays bare the fundamental absurdity of such martial posturing, stripping away the veneer of heroism.

The monumental mud-sculpted ‘guardians’ of the accompanying installation are crafted from materials, subverting the normative representations of martial authority.

With The Watchman and its guardians, the artist offers a profound meditation and critique of deep-seated cultural narratives.

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