As I've mentioned before, my aim with documenting and sharing my visits to art-related events is to essentially highlight the exceptional, underrated and under-represented community of artists we have here in Cairo. I'm not an art critic but rather an inquisitive observer. And I definitely don't intend on discrediting or criticising galleries and artists, instead, I want to utilise this opportunity to become more well informed, delve further into the Egyptian art scene and discover more talents.
You may find my interpretations to be more of a synopsis than your typical critiquing review because my main focus here is the work itself and I'd rather start a conversation about it rather than proclaim success or failure. Which is why I prefer delivering a general outlining of the work and the artists, and leave the rest to the readers' imagination.
Zamalek Art Gallery
'Sense & Sensibility'
12.11.17 - 4.12.17
11 Brazil St.
This is my second review on Zamalek Art Gallery's exhibitions (you could see the first one here) but out of all the exhibitions I've been to, I definitely think they've outdone themselves with this one. "Sense & Sensibility" showcases the mastery of Egyptian sculptor, Nathan Doss. (Minya, Egypt b.1971)
Doss is one of the most prominent Egyptian sculptors of our time, and if you haven't heard of him or seen his work, I highly recommend you check him out. For a long time in his career, Doss followed Ancient Egyptian traditions by using granite, basalt, quartzite and marble in his work then shifted to bronze a few years ago.
There are many influences that Doss absorbs and thus communicates through his work. A lot of his pieces are a response to the current happenings within the Egyptian society whether it's an event or just our everyday life. Religion also plays a pivotal role, and you'll find that he uses a lot of Biblical references in his sculptures and brings them to life.
The passion Doss possesses for his work is evident and talented is an understatement when it comes to his mastery and skills. His style cannot be attributed to any art movement but his own, and his ambitious attitude towards his work has undeniably paved way for his originality.
I've probably said this before but I think it's worth mentioning again, Zamalek Art Gallery is one of the very few galleries that highlight the importance of presentation when showcasing an artist's work. Everything from lighting down to the simplest details in curation and organisation. And this consequently creates a way more delightful experience for audiences when viewing art. I tried my best to emphasise this through my photographs, but even those don't do it justice unless you see it in the flesh.
What was so special about this exhibition was that it created a very powerful and empathetic experience for viewers. And personally for me, I believe a lot of it has to do with the labelling of the works. There's always this debate of whether or not artists should title their pieces, but in my opinion, it creates a conversation between you and the artist.
Titles don't always have to influence the viewer to see something in particular, and I understand that some artists would rather make it more open-ended so people just observe the work for themselves in order to develop their own thoughts instead of imposing an idea or meaning. But I personally find that it generally enhances my experience, especially if an artist works abstractly. It doesn't necessarily limit your thought process, but rather enlighten it. Both sides are valid of course. What do you think about this? Should artists title their work or not? Comment your thoughts below!
The above two pieces were displayed together, and are one of my favourites from the exhibition. The conscientiousness behind Doss's art demonstrates his own form of liberation when it comes to creating sculptures leaving us with such an unconventional yet beautifully familiar aesthetic like the above photos. From his hollowed out human figures, to the animals and his stylistically personalised symbols.
Doss continuously demonstrates a freedom of form without sacrificing any of the meticulous details involved in transforming the wax model into a finished bronze piece. And this is evident within all his sculptures. Especially "The Ribbon Dancer." Just look at the fluidity in its movement. What an aesthetic. Check out some of my favourite picks and comment your favourite piece below!
The Calligraphic Woman
60 x 45 x 172 cm