Zamalek Art Gallery: Mohie El Din Hussein Retrospective
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New art has been aplenty across Cairo this month, with the city’s galleries resuming normal service after the summer. Zamalek Art Gallery – boasting two spaces these days – has kicked off the season with a huge retrospective of the work of famed Egyptian artist, Mohie El Din Hussein – a man that is considered one of the best sculptors of his kind in Egypt.
The exhibition in itself is unique in that it hosts such a large collection of Hussein’s sculpting work – it’s so extensive, in fact, that it takes up both of the galleries separate halls, which usually host separate exhibitions. The materials used range between bronze to ceramics, meaning that there’s plenty of variations in Hussein’s pieces – in fact, some of the pieces are repeated, but in different materials. One such example is an abstract sculpture depicting an owl and another of a frog.
The most interesting material Hussein uses, however, is basic fire brick. Much of the pieces that use It are again, abstract human figures, with one of the standout pieces including a female face, painted in a striking green. Hussein’s pottery work has appeared in many a gallery and is a big part of this exhibition. Some of the pieces are atypical and unremarkable in form, relying more on colour, with an orange, blue and white one showing a set of simple, rural houses catching our eye.
Some of the more untraditionally-shaped pottery pieces are just as striking in colour, with one in particular stand out; the slanted piece fades between blue, olive green and orange.
The exhibition also holds a large number of murals, some of which are done over ceramics, while others see Hussein take a collage-like approach to their formation. Many of them are inspired by nature in its widest of meanings and colour, once again, plays a huge part in them.
Overall, the exhibition achieves its goal in paying homage to Hussein as one of the most influential and versatile contemporary artists in Egypt. If one needed any further proof, look to the fact that New York’s Everson Ceramic Museum house some of his work, as does Bibliotheca Alexandria – recognition owed to his innovative abstract expressionist approach.
(Photos: Zamalek Art Gallery/Facebook)