An evening with internationally-recognized independent curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath
The University of Liverpool is pleased to welcome the curators of Tate Liverpool’s exhibition Surrealism in Egypt: Art et Liberté 1938 – 1948 to give a talk about this groundbreaking show just prior to its opening. This critically acclaimed travelling exhibition highlights the activities of the Art and Liberty collective, a Cairo-based modernist movement operating around the WWII years. The group rejected the convergence of art and nationalism, aligning themselves with a complex, international and evolving Surrealist movement spanning cities such as Paris, London, Mexico City, New York, Beirut and Tokyo. Art and Liberty created a distinct reworking of Surrealism, which provided a generation of disillusioned Egyptian and non-Egyptian artists and writers, men and women alike, with a platform for cultural reform and anti-Fascist protest.
The curators of the exhibition are presenting a body of art works, most of which are on public view for the first time, and have consulted a significant body of unpublished documents that demonstrate how the group developed a distinct Surrealist aesthetic that was at once internationally minded yet locally concerned. This project posits the group’s significant visual and literary contributions beyond the polemics of post-colonial discourse, advocating for a new art-historical understanding of the Surrealist movement that transcends the polarizing dichotomies of Saidian Orientalism.
Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath are internationally-recognized independent curators and academics and are the co-founders of Art Reoriented, a multidisciplinary curatorial platform based in Munich and New York. They are also the co-chairmen of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation in Hamburg. Their recent exhibition Ways of Seeing was on view at Arter - Space for Art in Istanbul, and will travel to the Villa Empain in Brussels autumn 2017. Surrealism in Egypt: Art et Liberté (1938 – 1948) has been on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2016/2017) and the Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Kunstsammlung K20 in Düsseldorf (2017). Beginning 17 November 2017, the exhibition will be seen at Tate Liverpool, and finally at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The exhibition catalogue, Surrealism in Egypt: Modernism and the Art and Liberty Group, is the recipient of the 2017 Modern Studies Association Book Prize Award.