Mandy El-Sayegh transforms spaces at Thaddaeus Ropac London for her first solo exhibition there

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Mandy El-Sayegh transforms spaces at Thaddaeus Ropac London for her first solo exhibition there
Studio detail. © Mandy El-Sayegh. Courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, London · Paris · Salzburg · Seoul.

LONDON.- For her first solo exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac London, Mandy El-Sayegh will transform the spaces of the gallery, intervening on their walls and floors to create an enveloping environment within which ideas of bodily, psychological and spatial interiors play out. Featuring new large-scale paintings, sculptures and multimedia installations, the exhibition layers diverse materials, referencing sensorial experiences and processes of accumulation.

El-Sayegh will activate her installation with a new collaborative performance work, reflecting and reinterpreting the inner states experienced by the artist in her studio. The performance will take place amid the backdrop of new sound and video work, created through a process of visual and auditory collaging. The multimedia work intersperses footage of studio processes alongside a range of found imagery of bodies under the effects of external forces, be they harmonious or malign.

'I'm interested in the idea of artefacts not as ethnographic evidence but as a portable ecology - they move, they travel, they contribute to cultural hybridity rather than cultural homogeny. All these elements are constantly remapping how we read history and how we consume the present.' -Mandy El-Sayegh

Mandy El-Sayegh works across diverse media to examine how social, cultural and political orders are formed and deconstructed in the contemporary world. In large-scale paintings, table vitrines, immersive installations, performances and videos, she collages disparate fragments of information together, interrogating the ways that meaning might emerge from the relationship between these different source materials. Her works often feature newsprint, advertisements, aerial maps, anatomy books and her father's calligraphy, alongside hand-painted elements and non-traditional materials such as latex, allowing her to move between material, corporeal and linguistic frameworks. El-Sayegh describes her process as 'preoccupied with part-whole relations'. As she assembles diverse materials (or 'parts') into a realised artwork ('the whole'), she enacts a cumulative process by which meanings come into being. Motifs are often repeated across multiple works, demonstrating how the signification of information might change when placed in new contexts.

By emphasising the boundaries of her chosen medium, El-Sayegh draws attention to the systems that determine how information is categorised, contained and understood. She creates 'quasi-archives' in her table vitrines, suggesting associations and references through the objects' placement in a shared, delineated space. In her Net-Grid canvases, overpainted grids simultaneously structure and obscure the detritus of popular culture. These paintings also reference the primacy of the grid in Modernist art, which El-Sayegh found alienating: 'I felt that there was a whole set of systems that I did not know, like a joke that I didn't get'. In response, she creates 'forms [that] bring about questions of legitimate and illegitimate readings of culture and context', as well as the implicit power structures that determine who legitimises such readings.

Thaddaeus Ropac London/London Ely House
Mandy El-Sayegh: Interiors
September 1st, 2023 - September 30th, 2023

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