The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Paul Beanti Exhibition at Art Corner

Art Corner: Paul Beanti

reviewed by
Serena Belcastro
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Art Corner: Paul Beanti

The
events of the revolution have deeply touched and influenced many artists living
in Egypt. Paul Beanti is one such artist. Beanti – a pseudonym for the artist – had a difficult experience during the revolution, both psychologically and
physically speaking. Arrested during the first week of February, the artist
said he ‘became obsessed by a sense of dramatic realism,’ and his works lead to
a distorted vision. Art Corner Gallery hosts his latest
exhibition until October 23rd.


The
French artist Paul Beanti has no art education, a fact that he is very proud of.
He started drawing and painting in London in 2005. His pseudonym comes from a
complicated period in his life and refers to a gaping wound – béant
is French for wide open, not yet healed over. He came to Egypt in June 2010 after finding
an old photograph of Amr Mosque. He lived in Sayeda Zeinab, where he often
wandered through Souk al Gomaa, which gave him considerable inspiration for his paintings and use of colours.


Shocked
by the human misery in Souq El Gomaa after the fire in July 2010, he started
creating his own colours using ashes, oxides and natural pigments found on the
ground in order to paint with, as he calls them, the ‘surviving elements’. This
took him a lot of time and effort, and it’s one of the most important
characteristics of his latest artistic production.


The
crucial element of his exhibition is a chair that represents mankind’s
need to appear, an empty chair that gives a sense of desperate vacuity. Taking
into account that we are all human beings with no differences, everyone can
have a sit in this chair. At the same time, no one knows who the real sitter is.
This is the reason why the artist humanizes the object, creating a human shadow
behind it.


This is the theme of the 150×150 painting entitled Chairs and Shadows. The human shadows are
always the extension of the chairs. We are all
linked to this object, as if we were imprisoned or try to hide from what we
really are. The Prisoners, Chairs and Shadows shows a human shadow
handcuffed to a chair and it is one of the strongest examples of this concept.


This
obsession reoccurs in all the artist’s paintings. His sense of anxiety, also
expressed by the powerful colours and the large size of his works, comes from
the need of maintaining appearances and labels in contemporary society. Beanti created a skull, which is his seal, and uses it
in many of his paintings to denounce the categories imposed on us by society.


This
attempt at escapism also caused a sort of identity crisis in the artist. In his
numerous self-portraits, Beanti mirrors himself, creating a sense of
disorientation in the spectator.


Besides
the eighteen large paintings, the exhibition also hosts six small drawings, three
black-framed paintings, and three glass frames paintings. All the works are on
sale at a wide price range.

360 Tip

For more information on the prices of the pieces, buyers should contact the artist directly.

Best Bit

Beanti is willing to talk and tell you his interesting history. You will understand more about his works.

Worst Bit

Some may find the running theme of chairs and shadows somewhat repetitive.

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