Fri 1 Sep 2023 to Sat 30 Sep 2023
Artist: Mandy El-Sayegh
Performance: Akathisia. Performance by Mandy El-Sayegh with Yuma Sylla. Tuesday 12 September, 7pm. RSVP
For her first solo exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac in London, Mandy El-Sayegh transforms the spaces of the gallery. She intervenes with the 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 installations, as well as a collaborative performance, the exhibition layers diverse materials and modes of artmaking, referencing sensorial experiences and processes of accumulation.
Covering the interior of the gallery space, one installation takes inspiration from the consulting room of the renowned neurologist Sigmund Freud. Designed by Freud to be a portable interior, the contents of the room were precisely recorded so they could be restaged in a new location following the psychoanalyst’s exile from Vienna. El-Sayegh assembles objects that reference the consulting room, including Persian rugs and antique examination couches. Presented alongside walls covered with her unstretched paintings, she establishes connections between the interior spaces of Freud’s room and the installation, psychological interiorities and her own studio.
Elsewhere in the gallery, another installation builds upon El-Sayegh’s White Grounds series in which layered imagery of maps and detritus from the artist’s studio are partially concealed beneath white oil gesso. Skin-like latex curtains, suspended from the ceiling of the corridor leading to the gallery, draw on the artist’s enduring interest in the fragmented body, intersecting her investigation of psychological experience with ideas of embodiment and bodily disintegration.
El-Sayegh will activate this installation with a collaborative performance work, Akathisia, reflecting and reinterpreting inner states experienced by the artist in her studio. The performance will take place amid the backdrop of a new sound and video work, created through 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.
Mandy El-Sayegh lives and works in London, where she received a BA in fine art from the University of Westminster in 2007, followed by an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art in 2009. Her first solo institutional show, the specially commissioned installation Cite Your Sources, was held at London’s Chisenhale Gallery in 2019. Her work has also been shown in exhibitions at Tichy Ocean Foundation, Zurich (2023); Overbeck-Gesellschaft – Kunstverein Lübeck (2023); UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles (2022); Busan Biennale (2020); Sursock Museum, Beirut (2019); SculptureCenter, Long Island City (2019); The Mistake Room, Guadalajara (2018); Instituto de Visión, Bogotá (2018); Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing (2017); and the New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, Queens (2016), among others. She was shortlisted for the Prix Jean François Prat in 2023, as well as the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery, London in 2017.
In 2022, her work was featured in the British Art Show, the largest touring exhibition of contemporary art in the UK, followed by her participation in the Biennale Matter of Art, Prague. She also took part in the performance festival MOVE 2022: Culture club - Corps collectifs at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, presenting her piece En Masse in collaboration with choreographer Alethia Antonia and composer Lily Oakes. El-Sayegh’s work is held in major institutional collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami; Start Museum, Shanghai; and Tate, UK.