Lehmann Maupin is pleased to announce Dispersal, an exhibition of work by London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh. For the artist’s first solo exhibition in Asia, El-Sayegh will present new paintings, sculpture, and installation. Together, the works offer insight into El-Sayegh’s complex assessment of the systems—from global finance and media, to more organic and aesthetic frameworks—by which we make meaning, assign worth, and construct personal identity and culture. There will be a reception for the artist on Thursday, July 11, from 6 to 8 PM at the Pedder Building.
As part of a generation coming of age at the turn of the 21st century, El-Sayegh’s artistic sensibility is informed by the fractured and diffuse nature of acquiring knowledge and personal perspective amidst our globalized, information-saturated era. Her Net-Grid studies included in the exhibition visually recreate the process by which one’s psyche seeks, traps, retains, and associates information, like a fishing net cast amidst a polluted yet still fertile ocean, where both its intended catch and unsought detritus will collect. The process by which our sensory receptors retain and translate environments, experiences, education, news, and entertainment into the internalized personal network of thought, memory, and dreams is made evident in the hazy, yet formally rigorous grid of these paintings. The paint used in El-Sayegh’s Net-Grid studies, applied in a wet-on-wet style, speaks to the mutability, layering, and absorptive nature of knowledge itself.
The artist’s sequence of latex pieces, tiled on the floor like fleshy rectangles, recreate the grid of the paintings they are shown alongside, also revealing even more tiny bits of media that have been trapped in their casting. The latex installation captures El-Sayegh’s aptitude for communicating duality. Each individual unit represents a unique conceptual and material decision by the artist, however they also appear as uniform components of a larger structure, all cast from the same mold. This dichotomy is heightened by the nature of the material itself, which both preserves the properties captured in its liquid state, while simultaneously deteriorating as it ages.
The attention paid to the conceptual or metaphorical properties of her materials is again evident in the Piece Paintings that incorporate figurative imagery in surrealistic juxtapositions. These are positioned in El-Sayegh’s room sized installation that is created from a grid of the South China Morning Post applied directly to the gallery’s walls. For the artist, the use of a local newspaper, published in English, further illuminates the frameworks of nationality, culture, society, and commerce that permeate our understanding of the world and our place within it. Standing amidst this her installation of news and layered imagery, El-Sayegh provides a perfect encapsulation of the globalized network experience that we engage with everyday, each of us a figure amidst an expansive and intractable background of information, environment, and history.