Christopher Rizkallah

Christopher completed his Bachelor of Art in Studio Arts at the American University of Beirut. He was awarded the M&C Saatchi MENA Award granted to the student with the most potential in order to encourage their artistic practice. 

As part of a generation of artists born after 1990, a year that saw the universal availability of the Internet, the nature of Chris's work echoes the digital age. His portrait method is initiated by pictures taken from his phone, embracing natural glitches, and referencing them whilst painting. 

 I was brushing my teeth and my gums began to bleed. A moment of both disgust and intrigue. The mouth, one of my prominent features, plays on the fine line between the erotic and the grotesque, even in trivial daily acts. To embody these contradictions I fuse their extremes.

Everyday actions that involve the lips are, in a way, ritualistic. The attitude of a smile is affected by the minutest contraction of the muscle. A meal’s overall enjoyment is indicated by the way the mouth cleans itself after the last bite. These basic nuances are the core of my exploration in these self-portraits where I illustrate and elaborate these lapses. A more thorough inspection leads to the realization that there are small dissonances in these acts which capture the truth in a moment with a delicate subtlety. I can draw parallels between my findings and the haphazard glitches of technology. My process of production requires taking photos of myself in a sequence often straining my device. Accidental motion blurring or the discoloration of an image, is in itself, technology capturing its own set of disturbances.

In a way, the errors of a computer that are instantaneously discarded as they are false representations of myself are the omitted acts I capture.