Medrar Gallery: ‘The Chocolate Bar of the Future’ Exhibition
Though not a particularly well-known gallery in Cairo, Medrar Gallery of Contemporary Art, located in Garden City, is currently displaying a must-see collection of modern paintings by Hend Samir in an enthralling exhibition called The Chocolate Bar of the Future.
‘The Chocolate Bar of the Future’ is actually Samir’s first solo exhibition, which is apparent in all the vivid colours and intense imagination. Samir offers an insightful view of everyday life focusing on consumerism, advertising and the shopping habits of people.
From the moment of setting foot into the Medrar Gallery, it’s almost like being in a shop surrounded by a variety of vibrant, colourful merchandise to choose from. This is most likely the artist’s intention, to attract and lure the public into the paintings just like the owner of a shop in which everything is properly displayed to attract the customers: sparkling, flashy and reels you in via advertisements and offers.
One particular painting shows numerous people going about buying and selling, though they seem to be drifting away and floating in the air. The background itself is particularly interesting as it doesn’t appear to be set in a typical shopping mall or grocery store aisle, instead the scene is a mix of pastel pink, orange and red; it’s almost as though the scene is on planet Mars or another surreal environment. These choices emphasise the futuristic element within Samir’s art and illustrates the idea of how we may wind up as consumerism, advertising and people’s habits develop for the worst.
There’s also a series of three paintings which focus on fashion merchandise and once again portray colour, sparkle and happy customers, clearly expressing how large, positively addictive and popular the market has become.
The style used by Samir is a mix between Surrealism and Pop Art. Surrealism is an art movement where the focus is mostly imaginative portraying unrealistic images and ideas such as dreams and the sub-conscious mind. Pop Art on the other hand is a style originating in the 1950’s and 60’s using mass-media; mass-production and mass-culture; it can be easily recognised by the well-known images, symbols and logos such as: CHANEL, the perfume brand; CADBURY, the well-known chocolate manufacturer and even sports brands such as NIKE and REEBOK.
The title painting, ‘The Chocolate Bar of the Future’ depicts a huge chocolate bar floating in the air with small figures surrounding it. The size of the bar to the consumer could be meant to emphasize the importance of material products, using a product many people can relate to.
Despite being her first solo exhibition, Samir has broken into the art world in style with highly intellectual ideas behind her paintings which are all presented in a wonderfully imaginative style.