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Surrealism in Egypt: Modernism and the Art and Liberty Group

Surrealism in Egypt: Modernism and the Art and Liberty Group
Sam Bardaouil

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In the thick of the Second World War, the Cairo-based Surrealist collective Art et Liberte were pioneering new art forms and mounting subversive exhibitions that sent shockwaves across local artistic circles. Born with the publication of their Manifesto Long Live Degenerate Art on December 22nd, 1938, 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. Surrealism in Egypt is the first comprehensive analysis of Art and Liberty's artworks, literature and critical writings on Surrealism. By addressing the group's long-lost and often misconstrued legacy, and drawing on a substantial body of previously unpublished primary documents and more than 200 field interviews, the author charts Art and Liberty's significant contribution towards a new definition of Surrealism.Moving beyond the polarizing dichotomies of Saidian Orientalism, this book rewrites the history of Surrealism itself - advocating for a new definition of the movement that reflects an inclusive vision of art history.

Author Info

Sam Bardaouil (Ph.D.) is an art historian and curator whose research focuses on the international expression of modernism. He has taught at universities such as the American University of Beirut and the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and published in academic journals such as Dada/Surrealism, Qantara, and the International Journal of Humanities. He is co-founder of Art Reoriented, a multidisciplinary curatorial platform based in Munich and New York. Among their many exhibitions, Art Reoriented curated the critically-acclaimed Lebanese Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the groundbreaking, international exhibition Tea with Nefertiti (2012 - 2014) and Art et Liberte: Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt (1938 - 1948) at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Kunstsammlung 21 in Dusseldorf and the Tate Liverpool (2016 - 2018).


Winner of the 2017 MSA Book Prize

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784536510
Publication Date: 29 Oct 2016
Number of Pages: 352
Height: 254
Width: 190
Illustrations: 80 bw and colour

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