The One and the Multiple الواحد و المتعدد
In conjunction with the XII International Cairo Biennale, The One and the Multiple was an exhibition born from residency exchanges between institutions in Spain and Egypt during 2008 and 2009. First shown at la Capella in Barcelona, Spain from May to June 2010, the exhibition deconstructs cultural and artistic preconceptions, showing the unity of the Mediterranean and the irreducible individual diversity of its artists. Using principally photography and video—although there are also maps, interactive installations and embroidery— the artists investigate the complex realities of our contemporary societies, reclaiming the role of art as a tool and a space for multiple cartographies.
The exhibition, while being at times very site-speciﬁc, shows that it is not possible to divide artists following regionalist criteria- instead one must look at each individual in the uniﬁed space of the Mediterranean or, more widely, of contemporary art. Magdi Mostafa is a musician and visual artist whose works are site-peciﬁc and constantly searching for the creation of new spaces. Wensh, with sound, and Nork Zakarian, with video, both create spaces where the presence of the spectator is essential to the existence of the work. Using a more traditional approach, the artisanal work of Hamdy Reda and Sameh Ismael combine Arabic calligraphy with the camera obscura (pinhole camera) technique to comment on architecture of the image. On the other hand, Tareq Hefny uses his camera’s lens to create theatrical backgrounds (or ‘skins’) of buildings in Cairo and Barcelona. Also using photography, Mahmoud Khaled’s photographs generate mysterious landscapes full of absence suggesting an activity that we have just missed. With over 70 hours of video from his stay in Egypt, Alvaro Sau searches for presence in an ongoing project investigating spaces outside centers of power. Also using video, Shady El Noshakaty turns the camera onto himself, documenting ‘inside’spaces, or ‘physiography’. Pablo de Soto also uses video, amongst other means, to document the investigation of the frontier between Gaza and Egypt, while LaFundició works with children in Cairo and Spain, using video and graphic material, allowing them to analyze their cultural paradigms in relation to others as well as developing a positive, conscious identity. Finally, Vahida Ramujkic, in collaboration with Aviv Kruglanski, Albino & Rania, makes use of cartography by slowly embroidering an artisanal presence, looping back to the handwork of Hamdy Reda and Sameh Ismail while echoing the interest of LaFundició. Alvaro Sau and Pablo de Soto in peripheral spaces.
ARTISTS Vahida Ramujkic – Mahmoud Khaled – Nork Zakarian – Wensh – Pablo De Soto – Alvaro Sau – Lafundició – Hamdy Reda + Sameh Ishmael – Magdi Mostafa – Tarek Hefny - Shady El Noshokaty
CURATORS Pedro Soler – Hamdy Reda
PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS from Egypt: Contemporary Image Collective, Townhouse, Artellewa and Medrar for Contemporary Art; from Spain: Hangar, LABoral, and CAN Farrera.
SUPPORTED by the Ford Foundation through the Institute of International Education.