Charbel-joseph H. Boutros

The exhibition “Charbel-joseph H. Boutros, Untitled until now” offers a self-portrait of the Lebanese artist as pieced together through four works. For Life variation #3, the marbles, the ring and the continents (all works 2022), Boutros inserted fragments of a single gold ring—his own wedding ring—into five large marble slabs, each from a different country where the artist has lived. Alongside the other elements, Boutros lists “displacement,” “love,” and “hopes,” as part of the work, suggesting the end of a marriage as just another possible “variation” of one’s personal timeline. A portrait, Maastricht populates a cascading pedestal with an assortment of everyday objects— a single glove, a pair of white sneakers, a medicine box—covered in wax. These items were given to the artist by various strangers for whom they held symbolic value. Now, coated in melted votive candles sourced from the artist’s mother’s church in Lebanon, they seem to be petrified, outside time.

Untitled until now dismantles the neon lights of the gallery and covers them with the same wax. For the last work, An exhibition around your neck, Boutros created a necklace from marble blocks, with a new chunk added after each day of the show. The dealer must continue to wear the necklace, even as it grows heavier over time. Combined, these works question notions of magnetism and gravity: Toward what and to whom are we attracted? What weight do we carry with us?

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