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Egypt’s Great Pyramids ‘Levitate’ As Part Of Their First-Ever Modern Art Show
By Mikelle Leow, 25 Oct 2021
Artwork by JR. Image via Art D’Égypte
The Sphinx has a new riddle: can the last-surviving wonder of the ancient world be renewed for fresh perspectives? The answer, it seems, is yes, as the Great Pyramid of Giza takes center stage at its first-ever contemporary art show in its 4,500-year history.
The Forever Is Now exhibition—organized by private heritage preservation firm Art D’Égypte with support by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and UNESCO—showcases large-scale artworks by 10 international artists, all inspired by the longevity of a civilization. The installations are plotted along a trail that leads straight to the ancient structures, and will stay up through November 7.
Included in the lineup of creators are Alexander Ponomarev; Gisela Colón; Lorenzo Quinn; and robot artist Ai-Da, who nearly missed the show after being accused by authorities of potentially being a spy, Artnet News reports.
Headlining the exhibition is Greetings from Giza, an optical-illusion sculpture by French street artist and photographer JR, which portrays a hand holding a postcard in front of the pyramid of Khafre. When viewed from the front, the tip appears to be broken off and floating above the rest of the pyramid.
JR is reputed for his trompe-l’œil style, where objects are visually manipulated with realistic imagery to “deceive the eye,” which is what the technique’s name translates to in English. It was his 2016 work of the Louvre’s pyramid “disappearing” into the background that compelled the commission to work around this older pyramid.
Aside from the new steel-and-mesh work, Greetings from Giza marks JR’s first foray into the exploding world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). As it turns out, the image file for the structure is massive—amounting to 4,591 pieces, about the pyramids’ age. Each chunk has been minted as a single NFT and can be purchased on HENI.com.
Individually, the chunks are abstract artworks of half-tone black and white dots but “make sense” when pieced together, the artist notes. In addition, “743 hieroglyph rarities” have been hidden among the digital artworks as a nod to ancient Egyptian culture.
Describing the show, Art D’Égypte founder Nadine A. Ghaffar says, “Ancient Egypt has influenced artists from around the world, and so we bring the world to Egypt and Egypt to the world through art.”
[via Artnet News, cover image via Art D’Égypte]
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