Egyp­tian-Swiss Karim Noureldin’s lat­est in­stal­la­tion art con­nects

The Daily News Egypt - - Art & Culture -

to Cairo not as a vis­i­tor to his fam­ily or as a tourist, but as an artist in res­i­dence.This time there was no fa­ther to trans­late the ques­tions of the air­port po­lice. His apart­ment over­looked a Misr petrol sta­tion, the iconic logo of which fea­tured the pyra­mids which so fas­ci­nated him as a child.While in Cairo, he deeply stud­ied the coun­try’s so­cial and po­lit­i­cal his­tory, look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion.

His so­journ in Egypt pro­duced a book which looked at Cairo through an un­usual lens. Cairo’s busi­nesses in­vari­ably have roll-down store­front gates. Painters are hired to give these gates some colour and work at night when the shops are closed. More of­ten than not, sim­plis­tic geo­met­ric de­signs, stripped lines in bright colours, and in other places tri­an­gles, were used. Im­ages of these Cairo doors were com­piled in a book by the au­thor with the ti­tle “MISR”.The book also in­cludes im­ages of cars on Cairo’s streets wrapped in dust cov­ers. The pho­tos were taken in a way that even this seem­ingly ev­ery-day ac­tion ap­pears as found-art. But, not in the man­ner of Mar­cel Duchamp, but as a geo­met­ric and artis­tic ab­strac­tion. The book can be read in English or be flipped over and read in Ara­bic.

“I work in the ab­stract [and geo­met­ric de­signs], so there is an in­spi­ra­tion in my work in Ara­bic and Is­lamic art for which I have an affin­ity. I am cul­tur­ally a Euro­pean, but I am com­fort­able in any large city in the world.”

To­day, he lives in Lau­sanne, where he works as a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity ofArt and De­sign.In this role,he is again bridg­ing two worlds, the artis­tic and the aca­demic.

“Some com­pa­nies col­lect art, but Julius Baer might be one of the best at col­lect­ing in the cor­po­rate world. There is a fam­ily feel in their be­hav­iour and phi­los­o­phy in their col­lect­ing,”

Noureldin is also a fam­ily man; his wife is French and he has chil­dren. His study is in Lau­sanne, his gallery is in Basel, and he works with three dif­fer­ent deal­ers. He cred­its Switzer­land’s small size—each city is only a train­ride away—for his abil­ity to work across the coun­try.

“Of course I would be open to do­ing more work in the Mid­dle East as an artist,” the artist said with a grin.“I would be thrilled if there were more op­por­tu­ni­ties. Right now, I am very busy back in Switzer­land.”

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