Jean Boghossian, a multidisciplinary abstract Belgian artist of Lebanese-Armenian origins, is known for his unique use of fire and smoke in his artworks. Born in 1949 in Aleppo into a family of jewelers, he worked in the family business while studying Economics and Sociology at the University of Saint-Joseph in Beirut. The Lebanese Civil War in 1975 forced him to relocate to Belgium.

In Belgium, Boghossian’s passion for art flourished. He enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Boitsfort, Uccle, while continuing his involvement in the family jewelry business. His artistic journey took a distinctive path in 1988 when he began to explore the use of fire in his artworks. This method, involving deliberate burn degradation, became a hallmark of his style, symbolizing a dynamic interplay between destruction and regeneration.

Boghossian’s process involves a search for harmony amid the chaotic nature of flames and smoke, engaging in a “fire dance” until the right balance is achieved. This approach aligns him with artists like Burri, Fontana, Pollock, Klein, and Kounellis.

In 1992, he co-founded the Boghossian Foundation at Villa Empain in Brussels with his brother and father, reflecting his commitment to the arts and cosmopolitan identity.

Globally, Boghossian is one of the few artists who experiments by applying fire and smoke to various works. Fire, his artistic language of choice, is used through a wide array of torches. Having transitioned more than a decade ago towards abstraction, Boghossian’s art may evoke a contemporary view on the Zero-movement and Fluxus, although he claims not to belong to any artistic movement.

Boghossian applies fire to various mediums, including canvas, paper, books, and plastics, often creating perforated patterns. His paintings and drawings incorporate a variety of materials like watercolor, charcoal, oil, pigments, and acrylic paint, utilizing techniques such as folding, collage, and uprooting. His sculptures, made from materials like wood, polystyrene, clay, marble, and bronze, are also sometimes exposed to flame. Recently, he expanded into ceramics, further showcasing his artistic adaptability and creativity.

Boghossian has exhibited widely in recent years. In 2022, his exhibitions included the Bentley Art Car Course in Brussels and “Melencolia Contemporanea” in Venice. In 2023, he was featured in “The Sea is Green” hosted by SBM and at Opera Gallery in Monaco. His “The Language of Fire – Flaming Imaginary” exhibition at Villa Zito’s Pinacoteca and other various locations in Palermo highlighted his socio-cultural, geopolitical, and ecological awareness. Jean Boghossian continues to be a significant figure in contemporary art, living and working between Brussels and Monaco, and leaving an indelible mark with his fiery artistic language.

A notable highlight of Boghossian’s career was representing the Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. His exhibition, “Fiamma Inestinguibile,” curated by Bruno Corà, showcased his distinct fire-based artworks.

Looking ahead to 2024, Boghossian is set to continue his artistic journey with several solo shows. These include “Smoke Signals” at Nosbaum Reding in Luxembourg; “Abstract Writings, Abstract Thoughts” at Wittockiana, the Museum of Book Arts and Bookbinding in Brussels, Belgium; and exhibitions at UBP in Monaco and at N Gallery in Seoul, Korea. These upcoming exhibitions are poised to further showcase his unique artistic language and the evolving nature of his work..