The Subduer, 2017

Basel 2017
Gypsum Gallery
Photography
44.5 x 59.0 x 1.0 (cm)
17.5 x 23.2 x 0.4 (inch)
The Subduer was born out of a regular visit by the artist to one of the many public notary offices in Egypt. In these offices, citizens, state functionaries and legal/bureaucratic processes strain on a daily basis to continue functioning with and against each other. In the midst of these tense relationships, or maybe because of them, prayers abound. A slew of soiled and aging sheets of paper, informally pinned or taped on the walls, appear on the walls of these offices. Calling on our higher selves, our finer temperaments, our sense of forgiveness, and reminding us of the brevity of this material world, these prayers project a parallel or supplementary world-view to the highly regulated material world of these offices. Following this paper trail, Maamoun visited many public notary offices across Cairo to surreptitiously record the appearance of these prayers with the camera of her mobile phone. A photographic installation is accompanied by a publication that reflects on these prayers and their context. The title is a reference to one of the ‘99 most beautiful names of Allah’ in Islamic tradition. Working primarily in photography and video, Maha Maamoun’s work has been presented by many institutions worldwide including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; MoMA, New York; ICP, New York; New Museum, New York; MuHKA, Antwerp; MATHAF – Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Beirut Art Center, Beirut; Makan, Amman; Steirischer Herbst, Graz; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen and Haus der Kunst, Munich. Her work was also shown in biennials and festivals including the 6th Dak’art Biennial, Dakar; Bamaco 03, Mali; 9th Gwangju Biennale; Sharjah Biennial 10; Transmediale 2014, Berlin and 64th Berlinale, Berlin. Maamoun’s solo shows include Lingering in Vicinity, Gypsum Gallery, The Night of Counting the Years, Fridericianum, Kassel in 2014 and The Laws of Existence at Sursock Museum, Beirut. In addition to her art practice, she has curated and partook in the curating of arts projects in the Middle East and Europe. She is a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) – an independent non-profit space for art and culture founded in Cairo in 2004. Maha Maamoun lives and works in Cairo and her works are in private and public collections including Deutsche Bank, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Bonnefantenmuseum, MuHKA, Sharjah Art Foundation, Barjeel Art Foundation and FRAC – Poitou Charentes. The Subduer was born out of a regular visit by the artist to one of the many public notary offices in Egypt. In these offices, citizens, state functionaries and legal/bureaucratic processes strain on a daily basis to continue functioning with and against each other. In the midst of these tense relationships, or maybe because of them, prayers abound. A slew of soiled and aging sheets of paper, informally pinned or taped on the walls, appear on the walls of these offices. Calling on our higher selves, our finer temperaments, our sense of forgiveness, and reminding us of the brevity of this material world, these prayers project a parallel or supplementary world-view to the highly regulated material world of these offices. Following this paper trail, Maamoun visited many public notary offices across Cairo to surreptitiously record the appearance of these prayers with the camera of her mobile phone. A photographic installation is accompanied by a publication that reflects on these prayers and their context. The title is a reference to one of the ‘99 most beautiful names of Allah’ in Islamic tradition.