January 26, 2007

Mashrabia Kitsh

I went to an exhibition at the Mashrabia gallery . I decide to visit their website. Well their website is a joke. The only link working is the one of the website designer. It makes me wonder a bit about the whole seriousness of the gallery.

Nonetheless Mashrabia gallery is somehow one of the best private galleries in Cairo. They often have exhibitions of some of the stars of Egyptian art and their private collection is one of the most impressing in the galleries of Cairo. One of the other reasons I do have a tender spot for this gallery is my father who visited it in the late eighties and was impressed by the sweetness of the staff to the point he told me about it.

On the other hand though, the locale of the gallery is far from being perfect. Primarily, the ceilings are far too low for a gallery, and I often fear bumping my head when I go there.

They have a joint exhibition right now that shows works by artists Derno Ricci and Carmine Cartolano. They chose to name their exhibition "2kitching" or "dernocarmine". Somehow it seems thay could not translate "2kitching" so in the catalogue and in the invitation you have "2kitching" in latin letters but no equivalent in arabic.

Derno is a photographer who enjoys working in black and white. While Carmine is a teacher who seems to like using photomontages together with brightly colored stickers. I do agree that there is a big research into kitsh and that it seems to be one of the main tendancies in art nowadays, however I wonder why should we exhibit works by foreigners while many display organizers in the city of Cairo and actually all over Egypt do such amazing and naive things with the same techniques. Those at least do not think they are making art even if they actually succeed more striking effects than the intellectuals foreign or Egyptians that try their hand at it. Well, maybe it is only a matter of sponsorship. Big companies who sponsor art shows want to have artists they can show off.

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