Here’s a great followup to the last post about drinking Vodka out of a fire extinguisher. You are looking at Le Pyromane (The Arsonist), an art installation by Lebanese artist, Ali Cherri. The artwork, from Cherri’s solo show, A Fleur de Peau, uses hundreds of matchsticks to spell the phrase “I am not a pyromaniac.” The image above shows the work in various stages. It is also reminiscent of Bart Simpson’s chalkboard punishments, but obviously quite a bit more serious.
Cherri made the piece in response to ongoing acts of self-immolation (suicide by setting oneself on fire) as political protest.
On December 17, 2011, Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, doused himself with paint thinner and lit a match. His desperate act sparked uprisings across the Arab world, and inspired a large number of other men to set themselves on fire. Those serial self-immolations provoked me with horror and wonder. I began questioning how could someone reach this extreme political statement?
The installation explicitly states that this is not an act of pyromania (an obsessive desire to set fire to things), but rather a work about self-immolation. The artist is based between Paris and Beirut.
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