In agricultural botany, a graft is a sprout inserted into a slit on a trunk or stem of a living plant; the joined parts grow together to become one. In medicine, a graft is a piece of living tissue that is transplanted surgically to replace diseased or injured tissue. Grafting is often used to create new varieties, and the act can sometimes occur between different species, through which a new lifeform is birthed.
In his series GRAFTINGS, Ali Cherri imagines an alternative to the binaries often proposed by nature and culture by using both botanical and medical techniques of grafting. Combining objects uprooted from various sites or collected at auctions and markets, this body of work employs an intriguing hybridity while embodying a visceral, anthropomorphic presence. It proposes a dehierarchization of materials and objects, expressed through compromised authenticity, and evokes the possibilities of speculative and different ways of existing in this world.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Cherri’s formative years were largely characterized by wars and ruins to which he bore witness; as a result, his practice continually represents such traumatic memories. The artist has a particular interest in monstrous bodies, as well as broken objects that have been written out of the histories constructed by museums. The objects produced as part of GRAFTINGS are described by Cherri as intruders, as they serve to disrupt the preset value system and contest what is deemed desirable. They also hint at traces of violence while symbolizing a sense of survival.
Presented in partnership with Centre A and the Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransit BC