Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I have always wanted to be cremated after my death, which is forbidden in Lebanon, since all monotheistic religions refuse cremation and practice interring. This problem is not only due to a certain conservative religious social mentality, but also to Lebanese laws and to the Constitution of the Lebanese State, which does not recognize us as citizens having rights outside our religious communities. We are thus forced to observe religious laws in matters relating to personal statutes (marriage, inheritance, divorce, custody of children, burial, etc).

This problem or story, dull in itself and extremely personal, holds the merit of calling attention to one of the contradictions of the Lebanese State: Is Lebanon a constitutional State based on institutions supposed to guarantee and preserve the law, freedom of expression, of labor, of trade etc… following a liberal and modernist model - as we are repeatedly and incessantly told and promised – or is the State ruled by local religious community forces which stand between the State and the citizen, as is allowed by the Constitution itself, and thus preventing the establishment of a real State of law? This contradiction is no dull and brings about many a bloody conflict.

I have long thought of the best way to evade religious law as ratified by state law. For this, I have been inspired by the work of Piero Manzoni who signs human bodies or body parts, thus constituting them, in the act of signing and seeing, into artworks. I am inviting you to contribute to my project, which consists in the transformation of my body into a collection of art pieces duly signed by different international artists.

But this is only the first part of the project, entitled: Lina Saneh Body Studio.

Later, my body-collection-of-art-pieces will be presented to galleries, museums, and collectors, who might be interested to buy these pieces of art, the only condition being that they will not be receiving these artworks/parts-of-my-body before I die, at which point my body will be cut up and sent to its new owners. They are then free to exhibit the artworks/parts-of-my-body, after my death, or refrain from doing so. They are also free to sell them again (this is possible during my lifetime), however they are contractually bound to preserving them, and if not, to cremate them. The ashes can then be exhibited or sold as art pieces, or even disposed of, no one being held to preserving them any longer.

For the sake of this project, I am calling for signatures from artists who wish to participate in the construction of Lina Saneh’s Body Studio.
If you are a visual artist or art theorist and wish to choose a part of Lina Saneh’s body and sign it into one of your own works of art, you can then contact Lina Saneh on :, and specify the part you wish to sign.

For the purposes of this collaboration, a brief text of 3 to 5 lines is required from you, related to the piece you wish to sign. This text, will be published on this site, along with your signature and your chosen piece.

Once the piece of body is signed by you, Lina Saneh will cordially accept it as a donation or present on your behalf, and you, as an artist, will have no rights over this piece unless she decides to sell it. In that case, your shares will constitute 65% of the total fee paid for the work.

There are no restrictions on choices or divisions of the body parts, however no changes to the parts are allowed. You must choose and define the part you wish to sign without any alterations to the nature of the part.

We are looking forward to hear from you,
Body Studio project will be part of Lina Saneh’s new performance Appendice, which will be first shown in Beirut, Lebanon on the 21st and 22nd of April, 2007. This performance is presented by the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Ashkal Alwan.
Appendice will be also presented in September at the Schouwburg Theater in Rotterdam and at Le Ferme du Buisson in Noisiel, and in October at the Festival d’Automne in Paris.