Tuesday,26 March, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)
Tuesday,26 March, 2019
Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)

Ahram Weekly

A Date with the Pioneers

Salah Abdel-Kerim

A combination of majestic set design and powerful abstraction characterise the exhibition now on display at Safarkhan. Named “A Date with the Pioneers”, it is a rare duo exhibition of pioneering pair Salah Abdel-Kerim and Kamal Khalifa.

The internationally renowned painter, sculptor and multi-platform artist Salah Abdel-Kerim (1925-1987) is one of Egypt’s most distinguished and pioneering artists. And here he is in concert with fellow pioneer, also among the seminal greats of Middle Eastern art, Kamal Khalifa (1926-1968) celebrating selected works ranging from masterful theatre and set design to abstract and conventional drawings, paintings and sculpture.

Kamal Khalifa

Abdel-Kerim received an honourary mention for his magisterial metallic assemblage Cry of the Beast at the 7th Sao Paolo Biennale, having been the only Arab artist to appear alongside Picasso and Robert Muller in famed publisher Larousse’s Art and Man for this masterpiece. It is his characteristically multi-category repertoire that decidedly places him in a class of his own and amongst the most influential and remarkable talents in all of modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art. Khalifa, who also attended the Academy of Fine Arts, has likewise been mentioned in the same breath as one of the preeminent figures in Egyptian modern art, whose technical obsession and masterful depiction of movement, fluidity and unconventionality in an often unsettling and tormenting manner in both sculptures and paintings has cemented his legacy as one of the undisputed greats of modern art.

The present, merged exhibition is a rare treat in which two of the Arab world’s most celebrated talents can have their sensational works of art seen across various media.

From Abdel-Kerim’s set designs that often came to resemble individual masterworks of painting rather than simple preliminary renditions of stage planning, to Khalifa’s trademark melancholic beauty thoroughly abstract mélanges of abnormal colour and strikingly obscure human imagery and shapes, this exhibition offers a symbiotic balance across mediums, style and subject.

The exhibition is on until 2 February

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