Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Art et Liberté
Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt (1938–1948)
14. February – 28. May 2017
The Art et Liberté Group, founded by Georges Henein,
Ramses Younan, Kamel El-Telmissany and Fouad Kamel
Organized by: Art reoriented
Curatorship: Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath
c/ Santa Isabel 52
28012 Madrid Spain
Ramses Younan. Untitled, 1939. Oil on canvas
Exhibition Tour:
Musée national d’art moderne-Centre Pompidou, Paris (October 19, 2016 – January 16, 2017); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K2o, Düsseldorf (July 15 – October 15, 2017); Tate Liverpool (November 17, 2017- March 18, 2018)
In collaboration with: Casa Árabe
With principal support from: H. E. Sh. Hassan M. A. Al Thani

This exhibition is the first monographic show on the activity of the Art et Liberté Group, a collective of artists working out of Cairo during World War Two. The exhibition comprises a selection of around one hundred pictorial works and a range of photographic and documentary materials.
The Art et Liberté Group, founded by Georges Henein, Ramses Younan, Kamel El-Telmissany and Fouad Kamel, cultivated a vernacular artistic practice bound to Surrealism and international artistic debate. Its members called into question the academic and nationalist tendency of the bourgeois art that pervaded Egypt at the time, whilst also establishing artistic exchanges with surrealist movements from other places, for instance Paris, Brussels and Mexico City.
A. Mayo (Antonis Malliarakis). The bird, 1937.
Oil on board, 46 x 22 cm. European Cultural Centre of Delphi, Greece
The collective’s overlapping with the reality facing Spain in the 1930s occurred on numerous levels, manifesting itself through a commitment against growing fascism. The Egyptian surrealists’ decision to choose the image of Picasso’s Guernica to illustrate their first manifesto, Vive l’art dégeneré (Long Live Degenerate Art, 1938), and their condemnation of different publications from Franco’s uprising, offering their solidarity with artists and the Spanish people, are an example of this involvement.
The exhibition is part of the Art Reoriented initiative, founded
by the curators, which puts forth a critique of conventional historiographical classifications by focusing on the multifarious nature of modernity.


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