Civilization brings two bodies of work by Ginane Makki-Bacho: an installation of figurative iron sculptures which make up an army of cosmic proportions, and a collection of Janus-faced national monuments. Both have clear historical referents, but neither reads as a discrete event.
Over a quarter century elapses between the first Cedar statue Bacho makes with the shrapnel that invaded her home in 1983 and the sculptural rendering of a transnational military apparatus. The jagged edges of the former are as trenchant as the rough and unfinished texture of the latter. Bacho makes of baleful historical encounters and their unprepossessing materials art objects whose sheer ugliness is to be contemplated.
The consistency in their aesthetic quality points to a singular malaise of which both transnational militias and a fervid nationalism are symptoms. Such militias have the kind of economic power, that like large corporations, has exceeded the limits of the nation-state. With no constraints on the flow of capital across borders, the state is in a process of decay.
Arising out of these conditions, Bacho’s national monuments have the duplicitous character of at once holding on to an identitarian vision of the state, while intimating that the violence of war is tied up with nation-building.
Ginane Makki Bacho (b. Beirut, 1947) is an artist whose work spans sculpture, painting and photography. She has a Master’s of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Painting from Pratt Institute (1987) and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the Beirut University College (1982).