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Thaier Helal at Ayyam Gallery

Ayyam Gallery: Thaier Helal

reviewed by
Cairo 360
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Ayyam Gallery: Thaier Helal

Opened in late 2010,
Ayyam Gallery is the newest addition to the chain of Ayyam art spaces in
Beirut, Dubai and Damascus. Their reputation is of high manner, reflecting a fine
sense of sophistication and heavy impression of commercialism felt the minute
you grace Ayyam’s entryway.

Located on Abul Feda
Street in Zamalek, Ayyam Gallery is accessible via ringing the buzzer for the
monitored gate. The sterile patio space leads you up to the gallery’s door and
the friendly attendant will be greeting you shortly.

According to the gallery’s
press release, UAE-based Syrian painter Thaier Helal is known for
his large mixed media canvases that ’transform the tangible (and intangible)
into abstractions that explore colour and texture.’

On his latest exhibition ‘Liberated Spatiality’, Helal aims at conjuring
up a new method of seeing that ’relies on the sensations of rhythm and
movement to communicate the sentiments and physicality of society and culture.’
The release goes onto say that these abstract images delve even deeper into the
energy and movement of people, places, space and time; bringing to question
collective action through gatherings that transcend typical spatial boundaries.

Beautifully arranged
and pushing poetic, the description of Helal’s concept leaves this reviewer wondering
what the immense amount of repetitious rhetoric even means. While we thoroughly
understand the idea of using the medium for expression and communication, the
press release only furthered the abstraction that it is waxing around, leaving a
taste of pomposity in our mouths.

After checking the
pieces out for ourselves, we were still left with little to chew on. In the
furthest room, a large canvas was satiated in bronze and blue tones then
covered with lines of numbers. Other pieces were similarly arranged by rich
amounts of colour and texture, pretty on the eye but left little food for
thought. The dense hues and spastic paint blotch sequences summoned a bit of a
chaotic score, a beautiful mess if you’d like to call it that.

Interestingly enough
and more provoking than the exhibition itself was the street art located on the wall next to the gallery’s entrance. The mural shows Amr Moussa, Farouk Hosni, Mohamed Tantawi
and Mubarak himself, walking hand in hand with hearts surrounding them. The
image is hilarious and speaks volumes, lambasting the long-time
relationships that have kept the regime alive. We left feeling confused, though;
isn’t Ayyam Gallery the kind of place that Farouk Hosni would have loved?

While Helal’s
exhibition was less than exciting, Ayyam Gallery is a great art space to check
out for pricey and aesthetically pleasing works of art.

360 Tip

After checking out the exhibition, head to one of the many coffee places on Abul Feda for overpriced shisha and fresh juice. It winds up the experience well.

Best Bit

The space is pristinely clean and the attendant isn’t pushy.

Worst Bit

If you’re looking for some insight, don’t read the press release.

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