Marianne Boesky Gallery introduces a new series of artworks by Ghada Amer, titled “QR CODES REVISITED—NEW YORK.” Born in 1963 in Cairo, Egypt, Amer brings a fresh perspective to a long-standing textile appliqué tradition historically associated with male tentmakers in Egypt. Her work skillfully unravels the threads of cultural dualities, addressing themes such as femininity and masculinity, craftsmanship and artistry, abstraction and figuration, and the interplay between Eastern and Western influences with a keen awareness and precision.
Amer’s diverse practice spans various mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, gardens, and installations. She appropriates and subverts sexualised imagery often derived from pornographic sources, challenging and reimagining portrayals of women in moments of ecstasy, pleasure, and tenderness. In this process, Amer takes on the roles of both painter and sculptor, asserting a feminine perspective.
In her latest body of work, Amer engages with a traditional Egyptian textile craft known for its richly coloured appliqué panels used to adorn tent and pavilion interiors. She transforms these textiles into abstract grids featuring monochromatic geometric patterns that bear a striking resemblance to the ubiquitous form of QR codes. Yet, beneath the seemingly abstract surfaces, Amer discreetly embeds feminist texts. These texts, expressed in both English and Arabic using stylised, abstracted characters, serve to challenge and reclaim the voices of women. Amer often draws from the wisdom of feminist activists, artists, and writers, and her latest pieces are no exception. She incorporates excerpts from notable figures like Australian historian Joyce Stevens, Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi, and Tunisian activist Amina Sboui. By weaving these texts into her artwork, Amer once again confronts the objectification of women, offering a platform for the voices of feminist activists from around the world and empowering women to reclaim their agency.
About Ghada Amer
Ghada Amer’s artwork can be found in public collections worldwide, including renowned institutions such as The Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi, and the Samsung Museum in Seoul, among others.
Throughout her career, Amer has received invitations to participate in prestigious group exhibitions and biennials, including the Whitney Biennial in 2000 and the Venice Biennales in 1999 (where she was awarded the UNESCO Prize), 2005, and 2007. She also had a mid-career retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York in 2008 and a more extensive retrospective spanning three major museums in Marseille, France, in December 2022.
Amer’s academic background includes studies at the Villa Arson École Nationale Supérieure in Nice, France, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques in Paris. She currently resides and works in New York.
Location: Mariane Boesky Gallery, New York
Dates: 26 October 2023 – 22 December 2023