'Identities' featured at Mashrabia

Farah Montasser, Tuesday 3 Jan 2012

German artists Gabriela Goronzy, Thomas Kleine, and Ilka Vogler explore identity through visual art at Mashrabia Art Gallery


Mashrabia Art Gallery features the works of German artists Gabriela Goronzy, Thomas Kleine, and Ilka Vogler, under the title “Identities.”

Minimal colours of black, red, and some shades of blue and green dominate the plain white walls of the gallery; yet it is the movement depicted on most canvases that capture the eye.

Images of female and male figures across all canvases give life to the walls. It is as if the walls of the entire gallery could walk, talk, and dance.

According to the gallery manager, “most visitors found ts exhibition unique.”

The manager told Ahram Online that Identities asks questions about forms and definitions of each and every identity portrayed. “Is identity shaped by family, culture, religion, gender, or language, they ask?”

The exhibition includes a number of artistic techniques like drawing, painting, photo cut-outs and paper-cuttings. 

Right in front of the entrance to the gallery stands a paper cut-out of a female in a blue dress. Collectively, the three artists from Hamburg, Goronzy, Kleine, and Vogler, have created a story about this single female figure, depicting her in several positions spread circularly on the wall.

“Those cut-outs you see on the walls are designed and laid out here a few days before the opening of this exhibition,” the manager states. “However, all other canvases were finished in Germany and brought over by the artists from Hamburg.”

Moving on, there is yet another cut-out of a figure walking towards something or somewhere unknown. The image could be of a man with no features; it is just his movement that is present. This male figure is painted in black, remaining anonymous. He could be anyone in the world. In different sizes, the moving figure is duplicated all over the wall.

Fond of red ink, Gabriela Goronzy, one of the three participating artists, displays a number of small canvases that depict other people. None of the features of her figures are defined, yet she manages to relate to the audience the intellect, sadness, or happiness of the characters she portrays in her abstracts. One of her images includes a young women who could be sitting in a park wondering about her past or future. Another image depicts a young man with an almost perfect figure and physique.

Ilka Vogler, on the other hand, seems to have attracted the larger audience with her uncommon use of canvas material. She used some form of paper or cloth that looks and feels like plastic. Bright green and blue dominate her abstracts, which don’t actually present figures but movements that could be of a human being or a single thought.

Thomas Kleine is the third artist participating in the exhibition, and he seems to be the most realistic of all three, using white, black, and grey in his portrayals of male figures sitting on chairs, thinking or standing still. His abstracts could be less artistic but are very realistic to the eye.

Identities is open to the public until 12 January, from 11:00am until 8:00pm daily.

Mashrabia Art Gallery, 8 Champollion Street, Downtown Cairo

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