Mackaoui, Sean

Already in the basement and about to fall asleep, I remember for no more than thirty seconds the impact of ten projectiles on our building’s perimeters. The next morning the guard came down to the basement and woke me up. He very kindly informed me that the building was still standing.

These words belong to Sean Mackaoui, who is both the most casual and the most impeccably dressed and shaved man in the Western Hemisphere (Lausanne, 1969). A man who smiles at everyone, who makes jokes that are never offensive and, as any good Anglo and citizen of the world, never delves into topics such as religion, politics, or sex. Or almost never. This Anglo-Libanese-Spaniard constantly takes planes and centres his life around his work as a collagist; an obsession he shares with sincere joy while maintaining an enviable emotional balance in the style of a best-seller’s flap: ‘… and he lives in Madrid with his wife, his two children, and a dog’. Sean was born in the unmovable Switzerland, and perhaps that is why he is such a happy man.

One day, however, when the world began to believe that his bliss was a glandular condition, he was forced to speak about that night in Lebanon. His lips trembled. He did not know what to do with his hands and shifted in his seat as if to say: ‘Damn, man, why do we have to talk about this?’.

People are not only what they are, but also what they are not.

A few years later after experiencing the war first-hand, Sean has breakfast in his spotless kitchen in the Malasaña neighbourhood of Madrid, and then spends the rest of the day gathering strange objects (plastic figures, motors, woods, scale models), stacking up old magazines, cutting up illustrations and pictures, incessantly filling up —always with an enviable neatness— drawers and boxes of papers printed half a century ago, cutting from here to paste there, mowing everything in his path to then speak with his own voice by means of borrowed material.

In a nutshell, doing all that is possible to fill the world with collages: happy manifestations, in the harmonic sense of the word, always as elegant as himself, never looking to be violent, disruptive, or scandalous, but rather to caress the folds of the brain as whom caresses a cat.

Why does a man choose a path or another? Why is it that for Sean Mackaoui scissors are more powerful than swords?

Claudio Molinari

Self-portrait of the author