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

What Are You Doing, Object? Exhibition at Gypsum Gallery

Gypsum Gallery: What Are You Doing, Object?

reviewed by
Katie Dryden
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Gypsum Gallery: What Are You Doing, Object?

Gypsum Gallery is currently displaying its first ever group exhibition in co-operation with Nile Sunset Annex to mark the end of the season.  What Are You Doing, Object? is the bizarre and controversial title that has been given to this showing and immediately implies a sense of confusion.

A series of sculptures and installations make up the open space where visitors can walk around to inspect the art at every angle.  The first piece to greet our eyes was by Hassan Khan, titled Double Mirror, which featured a large wooden frame of some sort; a mirror on a brass stand and a miniscule head made from mud and straw.  Usually when a mirror is present it signifies that the artist wants the viewer to be part of the artwork itself though seeing all of these objects together evokes many questions and screams doubt and confusion.  What is the purpose?  What is the meaning?

Upon further research it seems that this doubt and confusion is actually the entire purpose of the exhibition.  When we see a table our eyes immediately send a message to our brain outlining the purpose of a table and stating the obvious fact that it is indeed a table, the same with a chair; a fridge, a shoe, or any known object.  Yet what happens when we are met with an unfamiliar object?  Our mind will work and work to try and solve the mystery.  It seems that it is a code to be cracked and a puzzle to be solved… or perhaps it is simply art.  Art does not require a purpose to exist nor does it need a name, but nevertheless it is there.

Ironically further into the exhibition there is a piece titled ‘Navigation’, by Sarah Samy; a kappa foam cut-out situated on the floor and resembles a jigsaw puzzle yet it is an incomplete puzzle without an answer.

Another interesting aspect about What Are You Doing, Object? is that all of the materials used to create each piece are those familiar to us: wood, brass, mud, plastic, foam and fiberglass; this gives us a tiny piece of information to work with, though much like the jigsaw puzzle by Sarah Ramy, the rest of the information is missing. What Are You Doing, Object? is an aesthetically pleasing collection first and foremost, but the beauty of it is that each piece in its autonomous state could mean absolutely anything, or nothing it all.

360 Tip

Nile Sunset Annex, founded in 2013, is an experimental self-funded art project in Cairo and focuses on month-long exhibitions based around physical objects.

Best Bit

It was interesting trying to understand each piece later knowing that they are not meant to be understood.

Worst Bit

The gallery space was not cleaned in time for the opening and people were still sweeping the floors and laying out brochures.

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