The abstract geographies of Charbel-joseph H. Boutros

Geography is the conceptual core of the Lebanese Charbel-joseph H. Boutros’ work. But talking about his work in this sentence may be a simplistic task if we’re not to say that this geography entails political, historical, social, cultural, economic and even psychological connotations which are way broader than a certain scientific reductionism of the traditional geography. This is, after all, a discipline whose methods were considerably enlarged in the past century because of the technological developments that introduced new terms such as cyber geographies and a new perception of territories.

The art of Boutros crosses this complexity and works the territory in all its visible and invisible, scientific and philosophical, physical and human perspectives. It’s a silent and slow dissection of a palimpsest. As Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley observed in the presentation text, “the layers of a civilization and its history cannot be awaken by telling, this is an experience that must be embodied and shown”.

The exhibition My iPhone fell inside my left warm shoe, currently shown at UMA LULIK_, reveals a group of works that synthetize the language of this artist: installations reflecting upon the idea of scale, dimensions; pieces about dreamt proto-territories; images and objects dislocated from specific contexts and backgrounds; the weather as measure of time and its material imprint that discloses it, etc.

Founded and directed by Miguel Leal Rios, UMA LULIK_ continues to map the art of the so-called new-geographies, which in some cases and in some historical sense share a common history with Portugal. After the Malagasy artist Joël Andrianomearisoa, it is now up to Boutros to sign the geographical complexity of the Middle East, not in an explicit and concrete tone, though, but as an abstract territory of historic, cultural and global interest.

My iPhone fell inside my left warm shoe opens at 19 January and is available until 10 March, at UMA LULIK_ gallery, Lisbon.

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