Saturday, 9 November 2013

Actors on the historical stage - The next chapter




Photo: Abdelrhman Zin Eldin, October 30, 2013.

Then this took place:


Photo: Abdelrhman Zin Eldin, November 3, 2013.

And now we have the answer of the artist:


Photo: Amira Al Asmar Tawfik, November 8, 2013.

When an artwork is harmed anywhere else, the ideal, or the fetish rather, of the original, steps in. It is all about finding back to the original doing a repair so seamless as if the deed had never taken place. For the same reason we have a profession that parallels that of the artist. When the artist steps out, the conservator takes over, in which hands the artwork will be from then on

There are innumerable stories on conservators following their own eyes and recreating the artwork according to their own ideas, but the model is the conservator whose work cannot be detected. The original is the truth in which the spirit of the artist shall be found.


Photo: Abdelrhman Zin Eldin, November 8, 2013.

Which makes the answer by Ammar Abo Bakr all the more powerful in that he made a very bold addition to the layers already there, this time bigger paste-ups of the heads of the two youths. The new heads are too big for their first bodies, placed a bit lower, a bit crooked, and in the case of the young man he is facing in the opposite direction from before. The colors that were hinted at before, are now giving their all in neon.


Photo: Amira Al Asmar Tawfik, November 8, 2013.

Haunting. Made all the stronger by not removing or disguising the black bullet paint. It is in the DNA of graffiti to be vandalized, changed or completely destroyed - all of which is in play in the first place when a piece of graffiti conquers a piece of wall and calls for the attention of the passers-by. But the reason why this work is so compelling is how it is so very clearly a dialogue lead by a voice who knows exactly what he is doing. 


Photo: Amira Al Asmar Tawfik, November 8, 2013.

Even if the wall now risks being painted completely over, we - and so do its challengers - know now that if so, there will be not just a new paste-up, there will be a new work of art. The vandalization tried to deface the mural and was instead defaced as an act of mental deficit, an act of Angst. Whereas the mural proved to be an articulation that engages with other people. 

In fact that is what art is all about.


Photo: Amira Al Asmar Tawfik, November 8, 2013.


Another layer of black bullet paint is on the horizon, however. At the moment a law draft against graffiti is on the table in Egypt, threatening to criminalize the art form with a maximum penalty of four years in prison. The legislator's edition of Angst. A law against art. Only, art has a tendency to thrive when met with opposition. We have the proof before us.


Photo: Amira Al Asmar Tawfik, November 8, 2013.

All photos courtesy of their photographers and must not be reproduced without their permission.


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