It’s shaping up to be a big year for Jean Boghossian. The Lebanese artist of Armenian descent is reveling in his first-ever solo museum exhibit, now showing at Brussels’ Musée d’Ixelles. He’s also busy preparing Armenia’s National Pavilion for this year’s Venice Biennale: Armenia tapped him to represent the country during the prestigious event in 2017.
At the Musée d’Ixelles, Boghossian’s eponymous exhibit focuses on recent works executed in four different media: paper, canvas and wood, as well as on the artist’s workbook. In a daring move, he used smoke, sometimes mixed with pigments, to burn his creations, resulting in singular colors. As his vertical lines take on intriguing hues, they lose their linear perfection and acquire a blurred, brushed perspective. The gesture, so important in all of Boghossian’s work, retains its absolute primacy. In addition, while the actual paper and canvas remain of utmost importance, the artist has also created a space for experimentation, as he discovers novel forms of expression.
On paper for example, burning leaves delicate marks, suggesting change and constant variation. On canvas, however, the artist’s burning technique results in greater destruction, hinting perhaps at violence and a more extreme form of radicalization.
As with previous work, Boghossian continues to explore varied methods of aesthetic expression, always pushing the envelope in his quest for artistic freedom. True, burning his work is a form of absolute destruction, but it’s this very act of eradication that allows him to build again – and reach out to ever-expanding artistic horizons.
Jean Boghossian’s solo exhibit runs until May 14 at the Musée d’Ixelles in Brussels.