Mahmoud Khaled: Painter on a Study Trip / Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (Egypt)

Painter on a Study Trip is the title of the recent solo exhibition of Egyptian artist Mahmoud Khaled at Gypsum Gallery in Cairo (Egypt). Painter on a Study Trip was sparked by an encounter with an eponymous 19th Century oil painting in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Alexandria. Reflecting on the artists own classical training as a painter, Mahmoud Khaled’s exhibition revolves around six key terms that define art practice. In this video, Mahmoud Khaled provides us with an exhibition walk-through and and talks about the concept of his show at Gypsum Gallery. It’s the first video that was created as part of a workshop organized by Medrar.TV with the participants Medrar.TV, Mada Masr, Ahram Online Culture, and VernissageTV, supported by Pro Helvetia. More videos created in conjunction with this workshop will be published soon.

Mahmoud Khaled: Painter on a Study Trip at Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (Egypt). Exhibition walk-through with the artist, Cairo (Egypt), May 9, 2014. Video by Nadia Ahmed and Heinrich Schmidt.

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Excerpts from the press text and the gallery website:

“Spanning photography, sculpture, painting, text, video and installation, Painter on a Study Trip was sparked by an encounter with an eponymous 19th Century oil on canvas painting in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Alexandria. The painting triggered a chain of reflections on the artist’s own classical training as a painter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Alexandria and its complicated relationship to the language and values of contemporary art.

Khaled compiled a concise lexicon of six key terms that recur in art history books to define art practice. Process, material, detail, source, exercise and composition form the basis for six new works that propose formal, poetic and associative interpretations of each term. The series, for which the gallery space is radically transformed, is presented from the perspective of a semi-fictitious student/artist on a field trip to Antoniades Gardens, a landmark Alexandrian garden modeled as a miniature version of Versailles Palace, and used as a standard location for outdoor assignments at the art academies.

The show includes an earlier work by Khaled entitled Memorial to Failure (2013) comprised of a video and a sculpture. The work is based on an actual studio visit between the artist and the renowned Italian thinker Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi conducted while Khaled was completing a one-year study program at the Home Workspace (HWP) in Beirut in 2012. At once minimal and poetic, Painter on a Study Trip mixes autobiography and research to form a pensive and precise multi-layered show.”


“At the core of Mahmoud Khaled’s practice lies a probing engagement with the construction of male identity. In a society that is increasingly shaped by mediated and virtual exchanges, Khaled’s work traces the boundaries between what is real and what is hidden, disguised or staged. The impact of his training as an academic painter can be seen in his concern with form, which is at once extravagant and austere.

Mixing photography and video with sculptural forms, sound and text, Khaled’s subjects are often unconventional. His single channel videos and installation have portrayed a professional male belly dancer, a group of body builders, bullfighters and online communities of HIV-infected individuals. Many of his works can be regarded as formal and philosophical ruminations on the value and meaning of art as a form of political activism, an object of desire and a space for critical reflection. His artistic vocabulary is composed of appropriated forms that have been displaced from their original context thereby proposing alternative meanings. His most recent work has taken a more intimate turn by tackling romance and its commemoration. The poignancy of Khaled’s work lies in its delicate articulation of a vulnerability that characterizes the human condition, whether we subscribe to a mainstream value system or not.

Mahmoud Khaled was born in 1982 in Alexandria. He currently lives and works in Cairo. In 2004 Khaled received a B.F.A in painting from Alexandria University and in 2011- 2012 completed the inaugural year of the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut. His work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in art spaces and centres in Europe and the Middle East, including AUB Gallery, Beirut; Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg; Nile Sunset Annex, Cairo (2013); Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), Amsterdam (2011); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo (2010); Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn and UKS, Oslo, Norway (2009). His projects have been featured in biennales such as Manifesta 8: European Biennale for Contemporary Art, Biacs 3, Seville Biennale, and 1st Canary Islands Biennale, Spain. He was awarded the Videobrasil in Context prize in 2012.”

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