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Supervisor
Elham AbolFateh
AR
Friday 28 July 2017

Books

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

Monday 15/May/2017 - 02:56 PM
Sada El Balad
Book Review: Surrealism in Egypt: Modernism and the Art and Liberty Group by Sam Bardaouil
In Surrealism in Egypt: Modernism and the Art and Liberty Group، Sam Bardaouil provides the first comprehensive account of the Egypt-based Surrealist collective’s artworks، literary texts and critical writings. This is an innovative analysis that invites us to reconsider existing definitions and understandings of the Surrealist movement، balancing detailed historical inquiry with provocative theoretical questioning، writes Johannes Makar.

Surrealism in Egypt: Modernism and the Art and Liberty Group. Sam Bardaouil. I.B. Tauris. 2016.

In the thick of the Second World War، the Cairo-based Surrealist collective Art et Liberté 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 By addressing the group s long-lost and often misconstrued legacy، and drawing on a substantial body of previously unpublished primary documents and more than 200 field interviews، the author charts Art and Liberty s significant contribution towards a new definition of Surrealism.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 Saïdian 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.

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