Caline Aoun is Deutsche Bank’s 'Artist of the Year' 2018

Caline Aoun is Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” 2018. In the fall of 2018, she will show her first large-scale institutional exhibition at Berlin’s newly opened forum for art, culture, and sports at Prinzessinnenpalais.

Born in Beirut in 1983, Aoun is one of a generation of young Lebanese artists who grew up abroad after civil war broke out in 1975 and completed their artistic training outside the country. She studied in London at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design and the Royal Academy Schools, completing her doctorate in fine arts at the University of East London in 2012. Originally using painting as a conceptual strategy to add another layer of mediation to the heavily mediated images she was exposed to, she decided briefly after completing her degree to abandon painting and began experimenting with photography and digital printing techniques.

In her work, the artist, who now lives near Beirut, combines strategies of minimalism and conceptual art with the question of how the evolution of digital technologies alters our perception of images and information.

The award “Artist of the Year” is given at the recommendation of the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council, consisting of the renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn. The award goes to a contemporary artist who has created an oeuvre that is artistically and socially relevant integrating the media of paper and photography, the two main areas of focus of the Deutsche Bank Collection.

“I am impressed by Caline Aoun’s obsession with printing to capture all the things that are fading away.” writes Hou Hanru, Artistic Director of the MAXXI, Rome, in a statement on the jury’s selection. “She transforms the attention for her intimate surroundings into a gaze at the globalizing world. Her work echoes so beautifully, in silence, the way in which the world turns around today, with everything being packed in shipping containers carried away on a boat merging with the sunset over the horizon. But, with her touch, the containers are wide open, and everything is gone…only the human breath remains.”

Aoun discovers her source material in the realms of public life that are shaped by digital technology: logistics, architecture, advertising, or urban planning. In one of her latest projects, Fields of Space (2016), she makes use of the Beirut port’s objects – shipping container floors, ledgers, industrial shipping palettes – and data to reimagine the ways in which we envision and interact with space and the materiality around us. Mundane elements that are normally overlooked become objects to gaze at. Aoun manipulates information and disrupts the common constructed reading of familiar objects, assigning new values to what otherwise would simply fade in the urban panorama.

Caline Aoun’s solo exhibitions include Fields of Space, Marfa', Beirut (2016), Remote Local, Art Basel Statements, Basel (2015), Concrete Layers, Greynoise, Dubai (2015), The Future of Smart Technology in your Hands, Noshowspace, London (2013), Scape, Sartorial Project Space, London (2009). Her work has been exhibited in a number of group exhibitions, including Spy with my Little Eye . . ., Casa Árabe, Madrid and Mosaic Room, London (2015), Dust, Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2015), Exposure 2012, Beirut Art Center. Her work will also be included in the upcoming Home Beirut: Sounding the Neighbors, starting November 14 at the MAXXI in Rome.

After Wangechi Mutu, Yto Barrada, Roman Ondák, Imran Qureshi, Victor Man, Koki Tanaka, Basim Magdy and Kemang Wa Lehulere, Caline Aoun is now Deutsche Bank’s ninth international “Artist of the Year.”

Deutsche Bank’s Art, Culture & Sports division is a global unit that concentrates, cross-links and develops Deutsche Bank’s activities and strengthens the company’s cultural diversity. More information at and Register here for your ArtMag newsletter to keep up-to-date.

Click here to find out more information about the Deutsche Bank "Artist of the Year" programme.

Caline Aoun. Beirut 2016. Photo © Cherine Karam Enlarge

Caline Aoun. Beirut 2016. Photo © Cherine Karam

Caline Aoun. Beirut 2016. Photo © Cherine Karam

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Last Update: November 2, 2017
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