Christine Kettaneh is a Lebanese artist, currently based in Lebanon. She is a holder of a MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (‘13) and a BA in Fine Art from the Lebanese American University (’07). She is also a holder of a MSc in Finance and Economics from the London School of Economics (‘05) and a BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut (’03).
Christine won the overall Arte Laguna Prize for the 'Sculpture and Installation category' and the special 'artist in gallery' prize in Venice (Mar'15). Most recently, she had a solo exhibition at Galerie Janine Rubeiz in Beirut (Jan-Feb17); she participated in ‘Bitasarrof’, a collective exhibition at the Lebanese Foundation of the National Library (Oct-Nov16); she had a duo exhibition with Monika Grabuschnigg at Carbon12 in Dubai (Sep-Nov16); she was selected to be part of REVEALING by SGBL at the Beirut Art Fair 2016 (Sep16); and she participated in a collective exhibition at Ab-Anbar in Tehran (Jul15).
Smell me, Touch me, Kiss me
Despite our advanced forebrains, we remain ignorant at a macro scale. We are, like ants, only conscious of our micro decisions - to build this or that, to move here or there- and their very immediate effects on our lives. Yet those same conscious decisions contribute to a longer term global behavior like that of an ant colony, an ‘emergent’ intelligence, that we have no way of immediately perceiving.
Our reality at any point resides in our cultural artifacts and in the debris of history, the products of a complex macro course; but we can only experience reality and interact with it at a local, micro level. That is why, when we observe more closely life at home and on the street, we feel a sense of alienation - because of that mismatch in scale between what we encounter and how we interact with it. We also feel alienated because there is no clear correspondence between what we know and what we perceive. Our reality is a product of more than the known history, so our knowledge always falls short. To define an object, a person, or a system by its history would only limit it. We might need to trust our immediate experience of it, our very gnawing sense of alienation, to attempt a more complete understanding.
In my work, there is always an intrigue in the everyday matter. In the two projects presented here, I explore the bar of soap on my wash basin, the ants in my garden, the sugar on my kitchen table, and the language in my mouth. My search, as always, involves an enquiry into language. There is a temporary forgetting of meaning as I feed the alphabet to the ants and as I suspend my search for the origin of Hayat, the soap. Only to pick up the words again and use them as triggers for rituals in the hopes of smelling, touching and kissing matter’s more metaphorical possibilities.