Genetics, Physics, and Transcendence in the Later Work of Saloua Raouda Choucair

By Laura Metzler
Submitted to Session P4996 (The Surreal and the Real between Orientalism and Post-Orientalism, 2017 Annual Meeting
Art/Art Hist
LCD Projector without Audio;
This paper addresses the sculptural practice of Lebanese abstractionist Saloua Raouda Choucair and presents new interpretational opportunities by introducing information found in the artist’s personal notes and documents. The artist, known most through her interest in the infinite has primarily been interpreted via Sufi thought and Islamic geometric practices but this paper reveals that from the 1970s through the end of her career in the 1990s was also looking at biochemisty and quantum mechanics. I argue that rather than considering this a breach or directional change that it can be looked at as a continuation of her exploration of the infinite and allows for a reframing of her practice at large. I present the unarchived documents alongside sculptural examples to establish the translation of the artist’s research into her practice and discuss the larger implications of how this affects our broader interpretation of her work.