November 29, 2014

Rana El NemrAssembled in Streams of Synonyms

American University in Cairo
Rana El Nemr, Assembled in Streams of Synonyms (detail), 2014. Photograph. Courtesy of the artist.

Assembled in Streams of Synonyms, Rana El Nemr’s solo exhibition at Sharjah Art Gallery of the American University in Cairo, explores an intangible quality that she encounters in urban, architectural, literary, personal or imaginal spaces. It is a quality that renders these spaces susceptible to transformation—functional, mis-planned or abandoned as they may be.

This subjective quality opens these spaces up to malleable structures of meaning, which the artist refers to as inner voids. Such physical and perceptual voids act as powerful fields that draw in personal sensations, images and imaginaries, and generate new ones. Whether found in the public or the private sphere, each is an intimately personal space in the sense that its discovery or creation is the result of the unique encounter of subjectivity with a space.

In the different images, objects and spaces that El Nemr summons to this exhibition, she observes the shape and density of these voids, their emotional triggers, and their capacity to host the imagination. A lamppost here becomes the breeding ground of a living organism, a ghost city reveals signs of actual life, while highways and gardens fall short of, or exceed, their use-value and engage in a transformative speculation.

Over a number of years and projects, El Nemr has examined the relationships that people have with their surroundings—be they observational, investigative, interventional, or territorial. In this exhibition she explores these fluid spaces through the different sensitivities to time and space expressed in the mediums of photography, video, 16mm film, sculpture, and text.

Assembled in Streams of Synonyms is curated by Maha Maamoun, and is a part of AUC_LAB, a new series of monographic exhibitions and projects by artists from the region. Previous installments of AUC_LAB have featured Hassan Khan and Malak Helmy. AUC_LAB Notes on Practice, the accompanying publication series will be launched soon, in collaboration with Revolver Publishing Berlin.

Rana El Nemr is an artist who works primarily with photography, but also engages text, film, sound, and sculpture. She has performed extensive research and developed various workshops, which aim to analyze, question, and develop our relationship with the images we produce or consume. El Nemr has received several awards for her work and research on the image, and has held exhibitions at the Townhouse Gallery Cairo, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe (ZKM). She is a co-founder of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), a space for arts and culture founded in Cairo in 2004.


For further information, please contact:
Kaya Behkalam, Director of the Sharjah Art Gallery at the American University in Cairo, [email protected]


Rana El Nemr at American University in Cairo’s Sharjah Art Gallery

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