Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)

Ahram Weekly

No waiting for Godot

Reham El-Adawi asked sculptor Kamal Al-Feki about colouring bronze

No waiting for Godot

Macrophobia is the fear of long waits, which is the theme of avant-garde sculptor Kamal Al-Feki’s latest collection.  “A state of stillness and anticipation that generates a reaction within an unspecified time frame,” as the artist himself describes it, “a feeling which holds many expectations and uncertainties: the time wasted in waiting is a suspended period not of the past or the future and not even of the present. Hanging between hope and despair, desire and boredom, the act of waiting is a horrible existential experience (to wait or not wait). This is my attempt to capture this familiar yet disturbing condition.” 

Reflecting everyday difficulties and psychological states, Al-Feki is using electroless plating – a method, evidently started in ancient Egypt, of inducing a change in the colour of metal chemically, without using external electricity – for the first time. And it is Al-Feki’s daring palette – blood red, pink, purple, burgundy, gold, silver, blue, and turquoise – that is the show’s most striking element; Al-Feki even uses more than one colour in the same statue. Especially in pieces that have been made to look like they were glazed in a layer of colour, this gives the statues a powerful presence.  


No waiting for Godot

According to artist and critic Farghali Abdel-Hafiz, “Al-Feki dextrously employed multiple layers of human bodies and composed them in upward and downward motion. A link can also be traced between Al-Feki’s work and the subjects of Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, who is known for the exaggerated size of his figures.” 

Al-Feki is an artist who has been exposed to world cultures and while this has undoubtedly influenced his art, he always manages to maintain his own unique aesthetic. In 2009, he started focusing on bronze and the State Creativity Award enabled him to spend six months working at the Egyptian Academy in Rome, in 2016. Following this, he moved to the Italian city Petra Santa to learn about casting bronze. Waiting for his sculptures to be cast, Al-Feki was keen on seeing the positive side of the experience, however: building his character, improving his skills and expanding his knowledge.


No waiting for Godot

In his usual, figurative sculptures, Al-Feki depicts the human body in an abstract style with ballooning torsos and tiny heads, no definite facial features, and hands bearing butterflies. “For me,” Al-Feki says, “the butterfly symbolises freedom, but in this show I used it because it is the only creature that starts out as an ugly worm, metamorphosing into a beautiful creature during its period of waiting. I create an exaggerated body with a very small head because the block is one of the aesthetic elements used and reshaped by the sculptor in order to reach the final form of the statue which is also composed of a vacuum, line, dot and colour.” Contrasts have always set his work apart from his peers’. Sometimes the figure is seated, sometimes it is walking with a stick. Al-Feki denies the influence of Italian futurist Umberto Boccioni, insisting that he is inspired by ancient Egyptian statues such as the wooden masterpiece of Ka-Aper known as the Sheikh Al-Balad statue, which is on show at the Egyptian Museum. 


No waiting for Godot

In addition – the highlight of the show – Al-Feki provides three realistic statues, a kind of art he has never before shown, which depict waiting in a true-to-life way: a man on the edge of his seat, another holding up a chair and about to throw it and – the most talked about piece at the opening – a silver winged young man, bare chested in purple trousers. In him the human becomes a butterfly, free of taboos and restrictions. 


 The exhibition is on view at the Zamalek Art Gallery until 23 April. 

add comment

  
 
 
  • follow us on