French-Lebanese sculptor Chaouki Choukini’s first solo exhibition in the region, Poetry in Wood, offers a retrospective of his work from the 1970s to the present. The show features a selection of the Paris-based artist’s poetic wood sculptures as well as some drawings and watercolour paintings on paper.
Choukini’s love affair with wood began in his childhood, when he started volunteering during his school vacations at a carpenter’s workshop near his home in Beirut. “I enjoyed it because I could make toys for myself. Later, at art school I worked mostly with clay and stone. I returned to wood after I met a Japanese maestro of wood sculpting in Paris and trained with him for five years,” he says.
The beauty of Choukini’s sculptures lies in the fine balance and palpable tension he creates between graceful curves and sharp edges, between smooth, highly polished planes and the ridges, nicks and cuts he carves into the surface, and between the positive and negative spaces.