Susan Hefuna, Smile, panel Kopie, 2008

Susan Hefuna. Mashrabiya screens

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Mashrabiya screens
a work by Susan Hefuna
with the participation of Marco Biraghi
Thursday 14th October 2010 | h 7.00 pm

Susan Hefuna (Germany, 1962) lives and works in Egypt, Germany, New York City. She takes up everyday aspects of life in her work, exploring the indeterminacy of location and identity and her negotiation of her own identity through photography, video, drawing, sculpture, and digital media. Much of Hefuna’s work is informed by her dual heritage (German–Egyptian), and often features striking images of family, interior spaces, and cityscapes in and around Cairo. Through the exploration of her own diverse heritage she touches directly on issues that are critical to the inquiry of many comtemporary artists.
My wooden Mashrabiya screens are inspired by architecture aswell are my drawings and 3 dimensional installations, performances.
In general I am inspired by abstract forms that make up the structures of life. Micro details like those seen in scientific compositions of molecules and DNA, give a breakdown of how we see space all around us. My work is a response to space, how we see ourselves when inside looking out and outside looking in. I explore the shapes of ‘mashrabiya’ screens, windows, blinds and various forms that pertain to Cairo’s architectural habits.
Gridded screens of old Islamic Cairo remind me of molecular structures, architectural structures made to protect the inside world from the outside; filtering the light and cooling the inside space; allowing one to observe without being seen. The ‘Mashrabiya’ screens became my abstract symbol that operates in two directions; it separates, but also filters and joins.I often use words in English or Arabic script woven into the wooden structures. The words act differently depending on who is reading them and in which cultural context.  It can be seen as an abstract image, a pattern, or simply ‘ANA’, ‘YOU’ and so on. The works begin to take on a bilingual affirmation, a codified representation of  different cultural contexts.
The in between-ness of being in two cultures at the same time, reflects my personal experiences when dealing with cross-cultural codes. The observer will read the work differently depending on his/her knowledge and depth of under standing

Marco Biraghi is professor of History of Contemporary Architecture at Politecnico of Milan (School of Civil Architecture)

Fuori Luogo 2010 |Out Of Place 2010
“The other side of avantgarde”

Thirty years after “L’altra metà dell’avanguardia” (“The other side of avantgarde”) – the exhibition curated by Lea Vergine in 1980, which first highlighted the work of women artists in the twentieth century, a milestone in the rethinking of modern and contemporary art – FuoriLuogo|OutOfPlace presents a series of encounters with a generation of contemporary women artists in their thirties and early fourties with the aim of presenting the work of this younger generation and their reflections with regard to their research and the art system within which they work.
The underlying theme connecting the seven artists’ work  will be the relation between art and knowledge. This year’s FuoriLuogo intends to research the variety of interests and starting points, the processes and procedures that these artists have put into practice ,  the specific spheres of knowledge relevant for each artist  and the very particular observation points or perspectives that those special interests imply.
The seven artists’ projects – with different modalities, sensibilities and attitudes – confront the more complex aspects of knowledge: from psychology to anthropology, from history to neuroscience, from cognitive science to epistemology. Our aim is, on the one hand, to build an interdisciplinary discussion in which artists could meet speakers from different fields of study verging on the areas their own research has touched on; and on the other, to guide the audience along a complex and exciting pathway of contemporary artistic reasoning. The motive is not to rebuild a poetic vision ‘common’ to ‘the other half of the universe’, but to better comprehend the differing perspectives on the complex world of knowledge and its definitions which fascinate and dominate the work of this generation caught in a precarious equilibrium between artistic creation and the complex universe of intellectual discovery.
The fourth edition of FuoriLuogo|OutOfPlace – series of meetings organized by Connecting Cultures from April to November 2010 – deals with contemporary themes observed through an interdisciplinary approach with the collaboration of artists, thinkers, philosophers and critics.

download press release_Susan Hefuna
download press release_FuoriLuogo|OutOfPlace 2010

14 OTTOBRE 2010
Susan Hefuna
Mashrabiya screens
h. 7.00 pm, free entrance
Contemporary Arts Archive of Connecting Cultures
via Giorgio Merula 62, 20142 Milan

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