image credit: Susan Hefuna, Building, 2014, bronze, black patina, 24 x 17 x 3 cm / each, unique
Pi Artworks London is pleased to announce Susan Hefuna’s third solo
exhibition with the gallery and her first at our London venue.
Cairotraces features a new series of her highly regarded works on paper
as well as a newly commissioned palm wood installation that are
influenced by the streets of a city that has been a reoccurring
influence in her practice.
At the core of Hefuna’s practice
is her fascination with the networks and structures of connection that
inhabit public spaces and become the framework for peoples’ interactions
with each other. She is particularly interested in how these networks
become visible through and influenced by architectural models and city
planning. For Hefuna, these public spaces, particularly urban centres,
are the intersection of politics, architecture, and history and they
shape the formation of different social identities. This interest stems
from the artists’ duel German - Egyptian heritage, which has allowed her
to observe the towns and cities of two cultures that are simultaneously
foreign and familiar to her as well as her nomadic existence as an
artist who immerses herself in the life of the various countries she
works and exhibits in.
Since the late 90’s, Hefuna has used the
structural forms of the mashrabiya screens she originally observed in
Cairo to visualise her anthropological inquiry into public spaces.
Mashrabiyas are traditional latticework screens built out of
interconnected knobs and rods that form unbroken, crosshatch patterns;
they beautify buildings while protecting the inhabitants from harsh
sunlight. For the artist, these screens reflect many of the key issues
that affect the interactions she observes on a day-to-day basis: the
delineation between private and public space, veiling, and voyeurism.
Hefuna’s mashrabiyas’ interconnected dot and line motifs, often
interwoven with words or phrases, are a template with which she can
reify the intangible networks and structures of connection that inhabit
public spaces and become the framework for peoples’ interactions.
current work also suggests other interlocking structures, such as, DNA,
embroidery, tapestry, molecular structures and, most significantly,
buildings and maps. The viewer is not innocent and reads the work
differently depending on their cultural or social background.
arriving at a new location, Hefuna spends a few days traversing its
streets and squares until this calmative process lulls her into a state
in which she feels ready to compose work that will captures the
atmosphere of the location. Her initial artistic response is usually a
series of delicately composed ink and pencil drawings. These start with a
single dot and line that is unfolded in a single session without the
nib ever leaving the paper. In their humble and austere nature, these
structures recall the drawing experiments of the American Minimalists.
However, they are not subjected to a strict pre-determined system but
instead are intuitively composed and open to changes and subversions
that are influenced by her location. Each finished piece relates to a
place, a city, a body, a history, memory, that combines the experiential
with the abstract, without ever subjugating one to the other.
these drawings will be a series of cubic, palm wood structures
similarly conceived and constructed in the Egyptian capital. These act
as three-dimensional renderings of the exhibited drawings. Both the
two-dimensional and three-dimensional work share similar fragile and
porous crosshatch layers, yet the latter can be viewed from several
perspectives. This allows the viewer to experience the interplay of
light and shadow that changes through the day, therefore more literally
reflecting the architectural resonances within Hefuna’s practice.
has had solo exhibitions in 2014 at The Sharjah Art Foundation,
Sharjah, UAE ; the Osthaus Museum, Hagen, Germany; both branches of Pi
Artworks; and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA. Other recent solo
exhibitions include Notationsnotation at the Drawing Centre in New York
City, USA (2013); Susan Hefuna at Rose Issa Projects, London (2013); Vantages at the MAD Museum in New York City, USA
(2012-13); Susan Hefuna at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, USA (2012);
and I Love Egypt – A Temporary Learning Camp, a collaborative
commission by The Serpentine Gallery, London, UK and Townhouse, Cairo,
Egypt, which took place at London’s Speaker’s Corner in 2011. Hefuna was
the recipient of the 2013 Contemporary Drawing Prize of the Daniel
& Florence Guerlain Art Foundation in Paris. She has also had her
work exhibited at Fare Mondi as part of the 53rd Venice Biennale in
2009. Public collections include the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France;
LACMA, LA, USA; British Museum, London, UK; MoMA, NY, USA; Farjam
Collection, Dubai, UA; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France; Victoria
and Albert Museum; London, UK; Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany;
Collection HH Sheika Salama, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sharjah Art Foundation,
Sharjah, UAE and Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France. Hefuna has
collaborated on publications including the Pars Pro Toto series with
Hans Ulrich Obrist, the third volume of which was launched at Art Dubai,
UAE in early 2014.
For press information and images, please contact: Neil Jefferies (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call +44 207 637 8403