5 STYLE contributor Karen Chekerdjian has been invited to experiment and expose her work and the Institut du Monde Arabe Museum within the framework of D.Days. entitled “Respiration”, the exhibition will begin on May 31st and will be open through D.Days until the 28th of august, 2016.

At the institut du Monde Arabe, karen Chekerdjian proposes a discovery of a vast collection of furniture, objects, jewellery and projections that reveal the extent of her work. these works will be displayed throughout the three oors of the museum. Her career took new stride after a successful 2015, when Carwan Gallery invited her to participate in both editions of Design Miami. the exhibition prompted the iMA to reflect upon her work, which is on the cusp between sculpture and design.



“Ambiguity has always been the most apparent aspect of my work,” explains Chekerdjian. “If you ask me: What is that object? I invariably answer: Whatever you want it to be. This ambiguity is obviously the product of my environment. I live in Beirut, a city of constant contradiction, a city we cherish and detest three times in the same day. Working here is always in a temporary state of ux, in oscillation between two modalities. You have to live with the feeling that everything can transform at anytime, that we are never in control.”



Breathing is the only way to escape the evanescence of life. Without breath, there is no presence, no life. in order for her objects to have meaning, karen Chekerdjian imbues herself with use and form.

“My objects must make obvious and impose their presence, as if they have always been part of our daily lives They appeal to the collective consciousness, allowing them to persist. I do not want my creations to become out-dated,” states Chekerdjian. “Design for me is a political and social act because it is fundamentally linked to gesture, to humans.“



Karen Chekerdjian’s intuitive work brings to life a fertile discussion with the iMA’s collection.

“The museum’s wealth is in its narration of a history of the Arab world, founded on three monotheistic religions that have coexisted for millennia. This is the story I choose to tell through the carte blanche I’ve been granted,” explains the Beiruti.


respiration by karen chekerdjian


A very personal perspective emerges from this exhibition:

“In order to seek meaning in my work, I went on a profound search that moved beyond Middle Eastern symbolism. I wanted to get as far away as possible from my roots though I eventually realised that the distance brought me closer to the essential, to what the Orient has to say,” Chekerdjian concludes.

Photo credit: Ian Abela        Video credit: Lana Daher


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