Jean Boghossian is an abstract multidisciplinary artist whose artworks all bear, at different degrees, traces of burn degradation. Through the process of willful damage and the use of a blowtorch instead of a paintbrush, Boghossian raises the questions of what it means to create inextinguishable art with an invasive and violent, yet poetic method that intends to combine media by creating a construction through the deconstruction of flames.
Born in Aleppo in 1949, Boghossian stems from a family of jewelers for whom he worked while studying Economics and Sociology at University of Saint-Joseph in Beirut. In 1975, the Lebanese Civil War forced Boghossian to leave the country and settle in Belgium where he resides today. Over three decades ago, Boghossian decided to enroll in the Academy of Fine Arts in Boitsfort while continuing to oversee the family business. In 1992, he created the Boghossian Foundation with the support of his brother and father.
Globally, Boghossian is one of the few artists who experiments by applying fire and smoke to various works. Fire, being his artistic language of choice, is presented via a wide array of torches as his medium. Having transitioned a little more than a decade ago towards abstraction through alchemy, Boghossian’s art evokes a contemporary view on the Zero-movement and Fluxus. This being said, he does not belong to any recognized movement or school.
Objects that Boghossian has attacked through the flame include canvas, paper, books, and even chairs, at times leaving behind patterns of perforation. In his paintings and drawings, Boghossian uses different multimedia including watercolor, charcoal, oil, and acrylic paint with techniques that include folding, collage, and arrachage. Boghossian’s sculptures range from wood, polystyrene, clay, and bronze, some of which are flame-sensitive.
Boghossian has participated in recent solo and group exhibitions at Ayyam Gallery, Dubai (2018) Art Abu Dhabi (2017, 2013); 57th Venice Biennale (2017); Musée d’Ixelles, Brussels (2017); Beirut Exhibition Center (2015, 2011); Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collection Burri, Città di Castello (2015); Museo Archeologico di Atina e della Valle di Comino, Atina (2015); Villa Empain - Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (2014); Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea (2012); Galerie Guy Ledune, Brussels (2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007); and Amernian Center of Contemporary Experimental Art, Yerevan (2007).
Bio text courtesy of Ayyam Gallery. Image courtesy of the artist.