"Portmanteau” exhibition opens at Letitia Art Gallery

Letitia Art Gallery held the opening of a new solo exhibition by the Egyptian artist Ahmed Badry, whose sculptures and drawings investigate our relationships with familiar objects in order to question their functionality and place in the everyday.

The ambassador of Pakistan H.E. Mr. Aftab Ahmad Khoker, Deputy head of mission at the Cyprus embassy, Mr. Kyriakos Pogiatzis, art collectors, art lovers attended the opening in the presence of the artist who came to Lebanon for the occasion.

Portmanteau brings together a selection of mixed media works, including six sculptures ranging in size from 50cm to 3.5m, two of which will incorporate 3D printed objects and video projection.

The exhibition is an extension of Badry’s previous work, which has sought to transform our perception of everyday objects through the manipulation of scale and context, and to re-examine the role of the omnipresent object within society. The work offers insight into the artist’s in-depth research into non-codified objects through a reinterpretation of them in relation to language. By upscaling a bus ticket, a tool or a piece of packaging to epic proportion, Badry magnifies the object’s intent and makes the banal unavoidable.

Within Portmanteau, Badry has sought to collaborate with artists, writers and linguists in order to explore multiple ways of deconstructing language through the process of naming. The title alludes to the composite objects created by Badry that exist solely as symbols of the potential of their function – for example, a battery drill connected to a can opener, viewed as a whole, does not exist within the current global vernacular. Badry aims to understand and define these objects through naming and assigning function, and in doing so, create something new, translating the object from a non-verbal hinterland between existence and assigning it relevance to society.

According to Badry “Everything has a code. Most people deal with these objects using the same code or approach. A few approach it differently and create hybrid objects that seem illogical in order to solve a problem, to perform a function.”

Ahmed Badry graduated in 2003 from the Helwan University, Faculty of Art Education, Cairo. He lives and works in Cairo. In recent years, Badry has participated in several art Residencies including six months at the Cité des Arts in Paris; three months at the Swiss Art Residency of Canton St. Gallen in Rome and two months at the Delfina Foundation in London. Badry‘s solo exhibitions include in 2009‚ Made in China with Anastasia Katsidis, Kasko-Basel, Switzerland and in 2007‚ Al Qahira, Cairo Atelier, Cairo. He has participated in recent group exhibitions such as‚ Open House, Delfina Foundation, London (2017); Contemporary Artistic Revolutions: An Institutional Perspective, AUB Gallery, Beirut (2017); D-CAF | Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival, Cairo (2016); HOME WORKS 7, Beirut Art Center, Beirut (2015); Kunst (Zeug) Haus Rapperswil, Zurich (2015); What are you doing, object?, Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (2015); Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Algiers (2013); Regionale 13, Projektraum M54, Basel (2012); Cairo Documenta 2, Hotel Viennoise, Cairo (2012); Regionale 11, Hegenheim, France and Freiburg, Germany (2011) and at Darat al Funun, Jordan (2010).

About Letitia Art Gallery

Based in Beirut in the vibrant Hamra neighborhood, Letitia Art Gallery is a contemporary art gallery, founded by Mohamad Al Hamoud and Annie Vartivarian. It is focused on encouraging global engagement with contemporary art in Lebanon through the contextualisation of both local and international artists and their work in the global art environment.