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ArtReview

Ghada Amer, Girls In White-RFGA [filles en blanc-RFGA], 2004, acrylic paint, embroidery and gel on canvas. © the artist. Courtesy Collection Neda Young, New York

Ghada Amer
Mucem, FRAC Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur and the Museé de Marseille, from 2 December

That it takes three venues (two of them among the city’s biggest cultural institutions) to host a retrospective of the Egyptian-French artist is credit to her prolific and influential œuvre. Trained as a painter in the 1980s, Amer soon came to define her pictorial language by overlaying expressive colour fields of acrylic with embroidery to speak of the feminine condition across her two cultures. Her unique use of thread as brush is both fluid and expressive, serving to by turns bring her female subjects to life and obscure them; their figures (many of which are lifted from porn and women magazines) emerge or recede from a tangled network of capillary filaments, sometimes left dangling on the surface like drips of paint – or blood. The unique scope of this exhibition will also dive into the many other facets of Amer’s work, including drawings, ceramics, installation and gardens (one of which, offering a twist on a slogan from the Arab Spring, will be installed on the Mucem rooftop), reflecting some of the other themes dear to the artist – the divine feminine, love and desire, language and crosscultural translation, and the shaping of one’s identity within cultural and religious norms. 

by Louise Darblay

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