Moataz Nasr: The journey of a Griffin and Harmonia

Centro Espositivo SMS San Michele degli Scalzi and Villa Pacchiani, Tuscany, Italy

The exhibition Moataz Nasr. A bridge between Pisa and Santa Croce sull’Arno is held at the Centro Espositivo SMS San Michele degli Scalzi, in Pisa, and at Villa Pacchiani, in Santa Croce sull’Arno. The project, curated by Ilaria Mariotti, has been carried out by the Municipalities of Pisa and Santa Croce sull’Arno in collaboration with Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, and the Associazione Arte Continua.

As firsthand witness to the complex cultural processes that the Islamic world is undergoing, Moataz Nasr uses his geographical affiliation as a pretext to transcend political and religious boundaries, to project himself toward an interchange between cultures and histories. The work highlights some salient features of the Egyptian artist’s creative research: multiculturalism and the tendency to consider culture a fluid element that is renewed and transformed in relation to encounters with ‘otherness’; and attention to the present, conceived of as the effect of historical stratification. His pursuit of two lines of artistic enquiry, whereby the subjective, autobiographic aspect is combined with an account of a collective condition that has been shaped by both history and context and is hence detectable anthropologically.

The works that Moataz Nasr has conceived of expressly for the Centro Espositivo SMS San Michele degli Scalzi in Pisa and Villa Pacchiani in Santa Croce sull’Arno are the fruit of nine months of interactions, fact-finding visits and encounters between the artist and the territory that is hosting him.

“What I loved about Pisa as I visited the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Monumental Cemetery and the Tower” declares the artist was that mixture of two different cultures, which is manifest in ways and forms that appear simple, easy. Western architecture fuses with the language of Islamic art. Inside the Baptistery I found marvellous sculptures: columns, colours, decorations and flooring that speak of this union. There is nothing troublesome or forced in this union; there is no ‘us and you’.

Exhibition sites and schedules:

The journey of a Griffin
Venue: Villa Pacchiani Centro Espositivo
Piazza Pier Paul Pasolini, Santa Croce sull’Arno, Italy
Opening hour: Fri – Sun | 4pm – 8pm
Closing day: 24, 26 Dec and 1 Jan
Info: Santa Croce City Hall, tel. 0571 30642, 0571 389953
Free admission

Venue: Centro Espositivo per le Arti Contemporanee SMS
Address: San Michele degli Scalzi, 56124 Viale delle Piagge, Pisa, Italy
Opening hour: Tue – Fri | 4pm – 7pm; Sat – Sun | 11am – 7pm
Closing day: 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan
Info: Pisa City Hall, tel. 050 9919845
Free admission

  • Artists:
    Moataz Nasr
  • Open:
    Saturday, 07 December 2013
  • Close:
    Sunday, 09 February 2014
  • Web:
    Galleria Continua, Moataz Nasr
  • Photo credits:
    1. Moataz Nasr: Merge and Emerge, 2011, 3 videos 6’25” each, loop; 2. Moataz Nasr: The Maze (The People Want the Fall of the Regime), 2011, Kufi caligraphy on grass site-specific project, Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France (October 18 – 23, 2011) , 28x28m, Photo by Oak Taylor-Smith; 3. Moataz Nasr: The Towers of Love, 2011, 7 towers, refractory clay: 175 x 49 x 49 cm & 172 x 38 x 38 cm; iron: 192 x 28 x 28cm; bronze: 190 x 35 x 35 cm; crystal: 173 x 33 x 33 cm and 212 x 41 x 41 cm; wood: 155 x 89 x 69 cm, Photo by Ela Bialkowska. Courtesy of the artist and of Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.

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