MASS Alexandria: Exhibition 2

At the end of the MASS Alexandria Studio and Study Program 2012, 18 artists took part in a three-day group show, Exhibition 2, July 30 – August 1, 2012.

Esraa Aly

A Walk, 2012
Video, colour, sound, 4 mins 56 sec

A Walk, 2012

Video, colour, sound, 4 mins 56 sec

 

A Walk is an exploration of dreams and reality through the cinematic short-video filmed in various locations in Alexandria. Envisioned as an open-ended journey for forgiveness and solitude, the protagonist, a young Alexandrian man, is confronted by a set of extraordinary visual stimuli, which are at points frightening, bizarre and fantastic, while struggling with his own, far more ordinary personal suffering.

Doa Amen

Icon, 2012
Tempura on canvas
Dome of Parliament, 2012
Clay and metal dish
UFE, 2012
Mixed media installation
Sign of Prayer, 2012
Plaster and paint

Icon, 2012

Tempura on canvas

Dome of Parliament, 2012

Clay and metal dish

UFE, 2012

Mixed media installation

Sign of Prayer, 2012

Plaster and paint

Doa Amen’s individual works tell four stories that have a shared concern with religion, imagery and society. In UFE, the artist conjures a made-up, nondescript brand to label her hand-painted vials highlight the consumerist trait of investing consumerist objects with certain moral values.

Sign of Prayer is modeled on the face of a child who, in a hurried effort to demonstrate his piousness, is marked with a feigned Zabiba, a darkened patch of skin on the forehead that is a result of years of prostration and is found mostly on grown men.

Produced before the dissolution of parliament in mid-June 2012, Dome of Parliament playfully replaces the lid of a cooking vessel with a model of the dome found on the Egyptian Parliament building. Here the artist links government decisions with private, quotidian life, whilst also trivialising the current state of parliament.

Testing symbols, their identifiableness – even in disfigured states – and their complex and sometimes strained histories, Icon is a painting of the star and crescent symbol, a signifier of the religion of Islam, in gold, only the star is missing.

Amna Badawy

How Hard it is to be Satisfied with Anyone, 2012
Acrylic on wall and sound
Untitled, 2012
Mixed media installation
Untitled, 2012
Mixed media installation

How Hard it is to be Satisfied with Anyone, 2012

Acrylic on wall

Untitled, 2012

Mixed media installation

The artist is interested in the visualisation of letters in morse code, which she painted directly onto the wall, combined with a sound recording of the sentence. Morse code, used during wars and moments of emergency, is here used to communicate a message of love. The quote is taken from a found text by Jean de la Bruyere, the 17th century author, that the artist stumbled upon in Alexandria.

Untitled explores her fascination with the use of the colour white in painting from the 20th century. With subtly different fabrics, painting is interpreted through sculpture and installation and the viewer is encouraged to sense through touch and vision. White, for the artist, also carries with it associations of innocence, marriage, purity, and femininity, sentiments emphasised by images of Manga dolls displayed alongside it.

 

Salma Badawy

Working Power (Government Project), 2012
29 framed colour photographs
Working Power (Government Project), 2012
29 framed colour photographs
District (Government Project), 2012
2 framed photographs
Lady in Moscow, 2012
Oil on canvas

Lady in Moscow, 2012

Oil on canvas

District (Government Project), 2012

2 framed photographs

Working Power (Government Project), 2012

29 framed colour photographs

These three projects are interconnected and simultaneously tap into, and reveal, the desires and feelings of the artist, participant and viewer. In District (Government Project), and Working Power (Government Project) the artist sees her act as one of translation; conversing with a select group of citizen complaint workers, analysing their responses to a questionnaire and asking them to draw an image of their liking. She then categorises the material produced by these sessions and displays them in a minimal, intuitive fashion to reveal her own associations in an archive of society.

Drawn from Kandinsky’s Lady in Moscow, the artist was fascinated by a black spot, her punctum in the image, which she abstracted in oil on canvas.

Faten Eldisoky

Untitled, 2012
Sponge
Untitled, 2012
Fibreglass slide
Untitled, 2012
Gypsum
Installation view

Untitled, 2012

Sponge

Untitled, 2012

Fibreglass slide

Untitled, 2012

Gypsum

 

In these three installations, the artist interrogates and re-presents materials and objects in a continuing investigation into the creation and dissemination of taste. Most evident with Untitled, unpainted Gympsum ceiling moulds arranged and lit in an unusual manner; the artist also explores the multiplicitous nature of materials. Untitled, a large block of sponge is presented starkly in the space, the artist’s hand absent in the transition from supplier to exhibition. This work along with Untitled, a pre-fabricated fiberglass slide attached to the wall suggest other environments the materials are more at home at; the playground, the inside of a mattress or arm-chair; but also as allegories for how the artist sees the world.

Ahmed Essam

Missing Persons Ad, 2012
Black and white print on card

Missing Persons Ad, 2012

Black and white print on card

Missing Persons Ad began as a falsified missing persons ad that the artist submitted to the weekly newspaper Al-Ahram. Without the necessary evidence to support his claim, he chose to display the image, taken amongst his classmates at school, with a title that alludes to the process of the artwork. The work speaks of the distance between the artist and a parent, a distance categorised by absence, whether real or perceived, but equally as a minimal, almost universal gesture.

Khaled Galal

Untitled, 2012
Animated GIFs, collage
(Detail) Untitled, 2012
Animated GIFs, collage
(Detail) Untitled, 2012
Animated GIFs, collage

Untitled, 2012

Animated GIFs, collage

An attempt at visualing an alternate reality, Untitled pieces together clues based on hand- and digitally-collaged images of figures and landscapes. Imbuing found images with new properties, the artist presents still and moving images as an experimental process of interpreting illusion, the passing of time and the sense of reality.

Eman Hamdy

Fictions: Part 1, 2012
Video, colour, sound, 6 mins 50 sec

Fictions: Part 1, 2012

Video, colour, sound, 6 mins 50 sec

Concerned with the interplay between memory, knowledge, image, and our awareness of time and space, this video presents personal history as a collective narrative. Text, culled from testimonies real and fake, alludes to the subjective construction of memories and is overlaid onto wide shots of an empty building, its features firmly located in the past, yet animated by a lonesome child who skips along its hallways and down its steps.

Khouloud Khaled

Misread, 2012
Video, colour, sound, 1 min 14 sec

Misread, 2012

Video, colour, sound, 1 min 14 sec

This short, looped video is concerned with misconceptions, and the attempt to find oneself or stay true to oneself. The artist performs a simple act of drawing a straight line, an impossible task, as a metaphor for trying to stay in a path and negotiating others’ perceptions. This open-ended video asks the viewer to transpose their own ideas onto this symbolic gesture.

Mark Lotfy

This is not ‘successful’, 2012
Video, colour, sound, 35 sec
Co-direction and cinematography by Mohamed Zedan

A dialogue with a man named ‘successful’, 2012
Multi-channel video installation
Co-direction and cinematography by Mohamed Zedan

A dialogue with a man named ‘successful’, 2012
Multi-channel video installation
Co-direction and cinematography by Mohamed Zedan

This is not ‘successful’, 2012

Video, colour, sound, 35 sec

Co-direction and cinematography by Mohamed Zedan

A dialogue with a man named ‘successful’, 2012

Multi-channel video installation

Co-direction and cinematography by Mohamed Zedan

A portrait of the Islamic figure, Nageh Ebrahim is told through proverbs and stories. Altogether these moving images form a group portrait of the figure, exploring his idiosyncrasies, stories and personal history. Here the artist takes a nuanced approach to a very serious figure, imprisoned because of the part he played in the assassination of Egypt’s past-president, Anwar Sadat.

In This is not ‘successful’, Lotfy re-enacts an image that was familiar to Ebrahim during his incarceration; a cat trapping its head in a sardine tin, and has become for him a motif of the futility of greed. In the 6-channel installation, A dialogue with a man named ‘successful’, documentary clips sit side-by-side with constructed scenarios. In one Ebrahim gives an interview about his thoughts on political violence while unknowingly, his daughter points a gun hand at the camera, and smiles suggestively. In another Ebrahim methodically eats an orange, and subtly contemplates digesting the skin as well, a habit he developed during his years in prison, when nourishment was paramount.

Mo Nabil & Sarah Samy

Dragon Sleeper, 2012
Mixed media installation
(Detail) Dragon Sleeper, 2012
Mixed media installation
(Detail) Dragon Sleeper, 2012
Mixed media installation
(Detail) Dragon Sleeper, 2012
Mixed media installation

Dragon Sleeper, 2012

Mixed media installation

Formed of several elements, including video, props used in its production, photography and sculpture, Dragon Sleeper, also the title of a wrestling move, explores the power of rhetorical material, masculinity, group dynamics and speed machines. With a slickness afforded by the choice of medium, and through post-production, the highly-polished, photo-shopped forms and car showroom-aesthetic jars intriguingly with the surroundings. The artists take the content distinctly out of its original context to reinterpret shaabi-music playing motorcycles and images of men in an embrace to new, peculiar places.

Eman Elnaggar

Untitled, 2012
Mixed media
Poster, 2012
Framed photograph and poster

Untitled, 2012

Mixed media

Poster, 2012

Framed photograph and poster

In Untitled a simple intervention is made into the architecture of the space offering a blocked doorway, an obstructed threshold to an imagined, alternative space.

The artist presents the notion of ‘choice’, in society, school and familial situations, as a fallacy, or a joke in Poster. Paired with a manipulated train ticket from Alexandria to Tanta, it alludes to the artist’s feeling of constant transit and flux, and further, her sense of false choices.

Farida Refaat

Classroom, 2012
Mixed media installation
Courtesy of Aziz Abaza School, Alexandria

Classroom, 2012

Mixed media installation

Courtesy of Aziz Abaza School, Alexandria

This installation forms a critique of outdated teaching methods and curriculums as observed by the artist in Alexandria, in her own middle school education. Tables, chairs and a blackboard centre around an open book on a teacher’s desk. This is a textbook that could be found in many schools, and is specifically one that is sited by the artist’s art class teacher to describe “what art is”. This work questions education, by taking a close look at the teaching of art in school. How do we teach art? What impact do these formative encounters with art and its meaning have on us as artists and individuals? And how do we construct our own artistic understanding and sensibilities?

Nourhan Elsaied Anwer

New World, 2012
Pen on paper, collage and canvas

New World, 2012

Pen on paper, collage and canvas

Combining photography and drawing, images of ruins in Alexandria are reconstructed through the artist’s elaborate sketches and recalibrations. Form and texture give the images a mechanical, fantastical quality that reveal the artist’s concern with adornment and reconstruction, imagining these forgotten, almost completely obscured sites as a futuristic archaeologist.

Walid Elsawi

A Contemporary Artist vs. A Con Artist, 2012
Painted text on 13 light boxes
A Contemporary Artist vs. A Con Artist, 2012
Painted text on 13 light boxes
A Contemporary Artist vs. A Con Artist, 2012
Painted text on 13 light boxes
A Contemporary Artist vs. A Con Artist, 2012
Painted text on 13 light boxes
A Contemporary Artist vs. A Con Artist, 2012
Painted text on 13 light boxes

A Contemporary Artist vs. A Con Artist, 2012

Painted text on 13 light boxes

 

A dozen statements, taken from the artist’s ongoing interview project are written on glowing neon boxes, peppered around the space. The interview consists of responses he gives to the question “are you an artist?” a means of exploring the current climate of contemporary art, and the cult of personality, with a tongue-in-cheek emphasis on certain stereotypes, perceived pre-requisites or trends.

Nourine Shenawy

Site and Vision, 2012
Mixed media installation

Site and Vision, 2012

Mixed media installation

A collection of ephemera that visualises the artist’s thinking process, from childhood to adulthood; of what it means to be an artist. Pasted over and on top of each other on the wall, these materials explore the act of recording, archiving, and presentation, the screens acting as a visual metaphor for seeing and being seen, whilst functioning to create a contemplative, almost domestic environment.

Amir Youssef

Nowhere Place, 2012
Mixed media installation
Nowhere Place, 2012
Mixed media installation

Nowhere Place, 2012

Mixed media installation

This site specific installation turned the disused elevator shaft into another space, a nowhere place where light and water danced and pulsed to the natural, amplified sounds of the machinery of the elevator. The artist transformed and reinvented the atmosphere of the overlooked shaft into a space with its own voice, light and function.

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