Basile Ghosn

Born in 1991, lives and works in Marseille


In July 1783, the Marquis de Sade wrote to his wife: “You made me shape ghosts that I will need to realise” This quote – or rather, this situation – is the starting point of a novel by Hervé Guibert and a recent work by Basile Ghosn[1]. Indeed, the young graduate of the Villa Arsonrefers directly to the writer, but also to American artists such as Tom Burr and his radical conceptualism, Dan Graham and his pavilions and architectural models and New Order whose giddy minimalism is also a source of inspiration. Basil Ghosn is a sentimental, of those not frighten by the word and whose readings and new wave or pop soundtracks take form immediately in layers of images systematically dissolved then revealed by the (toxic) ink of toners recovered in cheap copy-shops. After studying architecture and especially that of the buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer for the international fair in Lebanon where he is from, the young artist decided to continue his training by making the modernist grid vibrate through the addition of autobiographical and architectural elements culled from specialised magazines of the 1970’s and 1980’s. In doing so, Basile Ghosn effectively pursues Hervé Guibert’s analysis and works as the latter did with ghostly images to which he confers an anonymous modernism. In this novel, the author recounts his past encounters with photography, far from a theoretical text, it is rather a series of notes exploring the different natures of images such as the travelogue, the Polaroid, pornographic or divinatory photography[2]. Among them, the Polaroid seems the closest to the research led by Basil Ghosn and also celebrates instantaneity as a process of appearance of the image. And it is no coincidence that the American firm first specialised in the manufacture of sunglasses with polarizing lenses that acted as filters of reality. Thanks to its capacity to make an image appear instantaneously, an unprecedented white frame, an undeniable capacity to photographically seize the object – and especially because of its unique and unreproducible nature that contradicts the very essence of photography – the Polaroid immediately became iconic. Like the glass monotypes of the young artist the titles of which are polarized by the addition of a few notes: grenadine, orange, mint, loveless, daydream…


furiosa, July 2019

[1]Vous m’avez fait former des fantômes, Hervé Guibert, Gallimard, 1987.

Former des fantômes, (To Shape Ghosts), Basile Ghosn, 2018, ink and tape on photocopy, 20 x 33 cm, single edition.

[2]Ghost Image, Hervé Guibert, University of Chicago Press, 2014, translated from the French: L’image Fantôme, Hervé Guibert, Editions de Minuit, 1981.