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Ded ic ated to my f at her



C H E I M & R E A D N EW YOR K 2014



ANNE CREISSELS Between bodies and words: gaze traps and resistance spaces In her recent canvases, Ghada Amer blends feminine figures and embroidered texts, attaching together what she had before treated separately. In fact, it is the first time that bodies and texts, images and words are literally woven together. The texts, (declarations with feminist accents), are precisely elaborated by the bodies that are, in turn, penetrated by the written word. Traced and blurred at the same time, trapped by the color and the embroidered threads, bodies and words affirm themselves in their disappearance, activating both memory and emotions. The current work of Ghada Amer marks another particularity: the creation of metal sculptures. 1 Presented at first glance like a translation in relief of interlacing threads that characterize its production, these hemstitched vessels with sunken spaces and chiseled shells, under the decorative appearance of large silversmith pieces, participate, in their own way, to this accustomed diversion for the artist. Words and writings of bodies in space revive the deeper question about the place of bodies, identity, alterity and subjectivity by opening physical and psychological spaces. Power struggles between words and images, shifting perspectives of viewpoints: these recent pieces (canvases and sculptures made between 2012 and 2014) demonstrate, in a renewed manner, the metamorphoses of identity, particularly feminine, that are at play in her work. Like traps set for the viewer, these works continually destabilize the gaze by displacing the representations that one associates with the body. Dialogues with indescribable, expressions of the invisible, these pieces trace in filigree the contours of an inner nature otherwise untranslatable. Works open to the text while not necessarily offering to be read,


on the model of a body open to the Unconsciousness, these works arouse a desire for interpretation. The work of Ghada Amer, and more particularly through the use of embroidery, is situated in this history of women, and for women, which is also a history of resistance, as is perfectly illustrated in the myth of Arachne, 2 but also that of Philomela used since Antiquity, especially in literature, as a metaphor for women authors. Together, Arachne and Philomela evoke the possibility for “works of subversive ladies.” 3 These myths show the urgency for women to find another form of expression, another word. Indeed, there is question of a liberated word, but also a foreseeable dialogue between women through the weaving that enables a feminine transmission. 4 By embroidering messages to provoke reflection, Ghada Amer accurately expresses this paradoxical transmission of knowledge, women, alterity, feelings and things forgotten. By hiding as much as is shown, by clouding uniqueness of a belief, her works reveal these “silences of history”, 5 symptomatic of a phallocentric history, while also indicating the possibility of a gesture of revolt. How to inscribe subjectivity in a field that is neutral, a priori, but also bears the mark of men? Keeping in mind the phallocentric nature of language and the artistic field, how can a woman express herself (artist or author)? Her approach and particularly her recent works seem to raise these major questions. Though nearly illegible, imperceptible and close to abstraction, Mandy (2013), contains both the figure and the text. Yet, it is difficult to determine which appears first, when “that” appears, from the contour of an evanescent body or from the pointillist text covering the background of the painting. Like a palimpsest, several layers of inscriptions seem to appear, each fighting to be seen. “I SEE MY BODY AS AN INSTRUMENT RATHER THAN AN ORNAMENT:” 6 the repetition of this phrase and its association with this woman’s body that is “offered” to the viewer, the nude bust, the head bent backwards, calls out for questioning and reflection.


Who is speaking? The representation of the woman, the artist, the painting? How to comprehend this figurative declaration? Instrument or ornament, is it necessary to choose? A body instrument, or would this be a noninstrumentalized body? Where is the wholeness of the body? Is it its interiority? A work, is it an instrument? With a dual messaging addressed to the viewer (by the body and the slogan), the painting both uses and subverts advertising methods with precision through the painting’s stark visibility and this polysemy that appears extremely distanced from the message, which is also a critique of the act of seeing (and reading). The use of the first person “I” creates a sense of proximity and establishes a process of identification that, rather than reducing the viewer to a consumer, places the viewer in the position of the subject, free and responsible for his or her interpretation. In a recent series of three paintings, Rainbow Girl, Norah and Belle (2014), the treatment of the gaze and the message addressed to the viewer take on a slightly different form. If images and words are equally intertwined, it is only the face that appears distinctly on a large scale: singularities more than anonymous bodies, even though the faces appear stereotyped. With these posed faces that insistently fix the viewer, the emphasis is placed on the gaze and the act of seeing when, paradoxically, there are words to read. In Rainbow Girl, 2014, superimposed on the large, multicolored contours of a woman’s face is the famous Simone de Beauvoir saying “On ne naît pas femme, on le devient” translated in English in large capital letters and covering the entire canvas: “ONE IS NOT BORN BUT RATHER BECOMES A WOMAN.” 7 Despite its large-scale visibility, one is not certain, like in Mandy, which appears first: the image, the text, the outline or the color. The “becomingwoman” 8 contained in the text focuses our attention to a “becoming-image” that is, itself, the entire work in the process of appearing. A “becoming-image” transpires at the same time as a “becoming-text,” the figural. 9 Simultaneously evoking the ABCs, the canvas, the embroidered trousseau and also the poster of propaganda or the placard of protest, Rainbow Girl can also


be considered, in a more reflexive manner, like an artist’s and a painter’s manifesto, a sort of a metaphoric self-portrait: the rainbow that could evoke the palette of colors, the multiplicity of mediums that together design the multicultural identity that is Ghada Amer’s. The importance of the white background lends itself to the notion of reading the canvas like a sheet of paper inscribed with the artist’s intentions, engraved with the founding principles of her practice. In the other two paintings, color is abandoned to leave room for black, thereby reinforcing the notion of writing “black on white”. In Norah (2014), this sentence appears intermingled with the stereotyped face of a woman: “NO WOMAN CAN CALL HERSELF FREE WHO DOES NOT CONTROL HER OWN BODY.” 10 In Belle (2014), the following text is inscribed in Arabic: “Woman, revolt against the East, revolt against the west, revolt against the north, revolt against the south, revolt against the body politics and be the brain of the world”. 11 Undeniably, it is in this last painting that the fusion between text and image is the strongest. This is perhaps due to the face’s elusive gaze whose contours flow directly into the words. To avoid being engulfed, the image seems to have no choice but to resist. Substituting the prescriptive imagery of women is the image of a woman who is irreducible to the summons of all orders, capable to metamorphose and infiltrate, like the threads on the painting, all the realms of the body and mind. Beyond the original context, and their nature (popular, literary or political), Ghada Amer underlines that these sentences are especially to be heard as potential messages of empowerment. Due to their repetition, the sentences inscribe themselves on the images and the bodies, by successive markings, by impregnation. These texts represent different aspects of feminism, by both their geographical and linguistic origin in which they were written (and in which they are transcribed again). Hence, Ghada Amer puts plurality at stake through these quotes, a plurality that broadens discussions on the affirmation of diverse subjectivities that lie at the heart of feminism.


What do these paintings pass on to us? What can art convey? What does an artistic language do to language? What is the message when a text has become an image? What is produced when an image is made of words? Should one read or look? Can one disregard the text; disregard the invading forms and colors? These paintings literally make the text visible. The words are exhibited, offered to be seen, brandished on a sign. Yet at the same time, the threads of the embroidery make it difficult to read. What is more, the spatial positioning cuts up sentences. The decoding of slogans becomes paradoxically slow. How should one interpret this loss that has been deliberately orchestrated, textually diverted? By intertwining the verbal and the visual, Ghada Amer directly positions herself in line with artistic experimentations that, since the avant-gardes of the twentieth century, massively disturb the painting’s illusionary perspective. Such an association brings into question a distinct separation in modern western art from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. In fact, outside of this period and geographical and cultural era, the articulation of words and images were, on the contrary, quite commonplace due to its common origin. 12 The imperialism of language and Western imperialism are expressed in this separation. 13 By literally weaving the visual and the text together in her recent paintings, Ghada Amer counters the precluding and restrictive polarizations (East/West, feminine/masculine, image/text …). It follows, then that while she renews her methods, she ultimately reaffirms what is at stake in her work: the surpassing of oppositions such as art/craft, feminine/masculine/, East/West. These power games are further problematic due to the questioning of so-called oppositions between image and language, writing and orality. T he we b -l i ke p ai nti ng s o f Ghad a Ame r, l i ke the we bs of spide rs, a re l ai d trap s fo r the v i e we r, b e twe e n a v i su al attracti o n an d a politic a l m e ssa g e . I n the se p ai nti ng s to b e re ad and se e n, the te xt b e co mes se duc tiv e a n d th e i mag e “thi nks,” the re b y o v e rtu rni ng the e stab l i she d o r de r th roug h th e m ix in g of re g i ste rs. As q u i ckl y as a p o ssi b l e i nte rp re tati o n ap pe a rs, a n oth e r e le m e n t


eme rg e s i n contradiction. Are the bodies trapped by the words, by a discourse? Is the text caught by the images, the bodies? What does the text do to the body, and what does the body do to the text? Where is the text’s body? What words and which bodies inhabit us? Where do we situate corporality? Perhaps these are the simple questions that these sculptures ask. The spherical and egg-shaped sculptures of Ghada Amer are hemstitched: protective-like envelopes whose permeable boundaries can be crossed by the gaze. They appear to be made by a single, continuous thread, once again evoking the thread that is woven from the spider’s stomach. Actually, these sculptures seem closer to cocoons than to webs, their ambiguous aspect bordering between a refuge and a trap. If the form is simple, its interlacing construction is intricately complex. These sculptures demonstrate a circulating movement, a continuous network that, in turn, opposes the sculptures’ solidity with a “mechanism of fluids,” thus marking, according to Luce Irigaray, the feminine. 14 In The Words I Love the Most (2012), the words that had constituted the painting definitively leave the planarity and pictorial to become sculpting materials. As posited by Ghada Amer, in this sculpture made of words, the true reader could only exist on the inside. Viewed from the outside, and even more for the person who doesn’t read Arabic, one can only see arabesques. The patterns hold something that is only visible from the inside. The sculpture closes in on itself while opening onto another space. This principle is reminiscent of Mashrabiya, an Islamic architectural element that allows (the woman) to hide and to see without being seen. Transparency is only apparent, and the secret (the feminine), in the backdrop, is safe. The interiority and love are often domains associated with the feminine. Here, words of love are enclosed like the intimacy that preserves them; their display is only partial, either by inversion or by superimposition. Undeniably, this sculpture expresses this “other” in language, this “beyond language” that is wrought by desire, this unconscious language that Lacan situates as feminine. 15


From Luce Irigaray to Hélène Cixous, and Catherine Clément to Julia Kristeva, the idea of a feminine language was particularly expressed, not words that are subjugated to the masculine logic of language. 16 Thus, Ghada Amer traces the contours of the inexpressible (belonging to women) and illustrates a metaphor of the psyche. This sphere of words on an inclined axis, like the dancing dervishes that Ghada Amer says to have dreamt about during her work, refers quite clearly to the earth, which consequently brings to mind, by its perfect form and its sibylline message, a dialogue with the universe, with the divine. This scrambled, incomprehensible language could be suggestive of the finality of the Tower of Babel myth: a shattered universality as well as an impossible knowledge. Yet, it seems as if the sculpture’s space describes a sort of interiority: an interior world much more immense than the physical world, the site for the imaginary and the Unconscious. When referring to her sculptures, Ghada Amer also speaks of stones and alludes to Dolmens. Indeed, there is what seems to be a contained force in these space-defining forms that could bring to mind the flow of energy, telluric and cosmic forces that cross the dolmens, these seams between heaven and earth. This invisible dialogue between the elements is translated in Victor Hugo’s drawing of a dolmen that echoes with his poem “Ce que dit la bouche d’ombre,” where one senses that rocks can contain souls. Ghada Amer’s open volumes, between heaven and earth, fluidity and solidity, seem to not only establish a dialogue between the interior and exterior, but also between the animate and inanimate, thus conferring a corporality to the space that they encircle. Incidentally, the other sculptures integrate the body, in various forms, by a spatial writing. In this way, one may understand the link between body and writing in Ghada Amer’s work that profoundly shapes her works, a link that cannot be reduced to a plastic enunciation that she makes. This equivalence between body and text clearly resonates with the substance of her recent works. Give body to language, give their space to words of the body, hear the corporality of space, and open the spaces of resistance: this is what seems to be at stake in the transition between paintings and sculptures.


In Blue Bra Girls (2012), a woman’s body is drawn, depending on the point of view, between the lines, between other bodies. This body is held in a substance composed of the same threads and interlacing of vegetal forms that could bring to mind the metamorphosis of Daphne (particularly the rendition by Le Bernin). The title refers to a violent episode of military oppression against a protestor in Cairo. In Ghada Amer’s sculpture, the shape of the woman disappears and multiplies, an icon in a state of perpetual metamorphosis, a paradoxical figure of resistance. Baisers #1 (2012) and Baisers #2 (2011–2012) can only bring to mind the Baiser by Brancusi. Aside from the title, and despite the difference in material and technique, what unfolds in both works is a unique form that holds two faces in her breast: a simple line draws the boundary between two bodies made from the same block. Due to her interest in the sphere and the egg-shape, in vital forms that border both geometric and organic, Ghada Amer is ultimately associated with a conception of sculpture, between abstraction and figuration that considers forms being born from the interior. With the simple anthropomorphic forms that her sculptures depict, strength is what appears to be continuous and propelled like a breath, a heart. 17 This organic dimension is further underscored in the sculpture The Heart (2012) whose title reiterates the animate. Painted in red, the sculpture affirms its bond with the body with this organ, the symbolic site of love. Conceptualizing a heart, stomach, brain or skull, these emptied sculptures, these hollow sculptures, contain the body and the living. Skeleton or arteries, these volumes are like architectural metaphors of the body. Spaces open to the body, openings on the body, that depict an interiority that is attached to its envelope while illustrating the equivalence between physical and psychological spaces. Paintings and sculptures correspond with each other in this polysemy and in the displacements between bodies and words. From an orality of language, these plastic forms call to mind the memory of Pythia: body as medium, traversed


by the indescribable, depository of the Unconscious at work in knowledge, welcoming alterity, her body open to the spirits. 18 Penetrating the body, it is the sex of the text that seems to gush and the corporality of knowing that is expressed. Between gaze traps and resistance spaces, the works of Ghada Amer give shape to an interiority of the text, an interiority of the body: their seduction is only visible, their appearance is profundity. Oracular works, they speak to us even if we aren’t able to comprehend.

Text translated by Martha van der Drift

NOTES 1. If the practice of sculpture is in fact new, Ghada Amer has, nevertheless, already completed installations and gardens. For a detailed analysis of all the aspects of her work, see her monograph: Maura Reilly, Ghada Amer, Gregory R. Miller & Co., New York, 2010. 2. I explored this question in an article from 2005 that was taken from Anne Creissels’ Prêter son corps au mythe: le féminin et l’art contemporain, chap. 4 “L’ouvrage d’Arachné: la résistance en œuvre de Ghada Amer à Louise Bourgeois”, Le Félin, Paris, 2009, p. 71–86. 3. For more on this concept, see Rozsika Parker, The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine, Women’s Press, London, 1984. 4. For more context regarding these myths, see Françoise Frontisi-Ducroux, L’homme-cerf et la femmearaignée, figures grecques de la métamorphose, Gallimard, Paris, 2003. 5. Michelle Perrot, Les femmes ou les silences de l’histoire, Flammarion, Paris, 1998. 6. This phrase is from Alanis Morissette, Canadian rock singer born in 1974. 7. Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986) is a French philosopher and feminist theorist. This phrase comes from her famous book The Second Sex (1949) that greatly influenced feminist history. 8. For more on the “becoming-woman,” see Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, University of Minnesota Press, 1987. 9. For more on the dimension of the “figural,” see Jean-François Lyotard, Discourse, Figure, University of Minnesota Press, 2011. 10. This phrase is from Margaret Sanger (1879–1966), an American militant who founded the first family planning clinic.


11. The author is unknown. 12. On this question, see Michel Butor, Les mots dans la peinture, Skira, Paris, 1969. See the exhibit catalogue, Poésure et Peintrie, “d’un art, l’autre”, Centre de la Vieille Charité, 12 février – 23 mai 1993, Musée de Marseille, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, commissaire général: Bernard Blistène. Finally, see Simon Morley, Writing on the Wall: Words and Image in Modern Art, University of California Press, 2005 (First edition: Thames & Hudson, 2003). 13. Regarding this point, see Simon Morley, “Creolization: Millennial Words,” Writing on the Wall: Words and Image in Modern Art, University of California Press, 2005. (First edition: Thames & Hudson, 2003), p. 185–197. 14. Luce Irigaray, “The ‘Mechanics of Fluids,’” This sex which is not one, Trans. Catherine Porter, Cornell University Press, 1985, p. 106–118. 15. For Lacan, the other of language, beyond language, the unconscious of language belongs to the feminine. The position of a woman’s ignorance (that which isn’t or not whole) is also a position of exclusion (of language) that would enable a critique of equal knowledge and access to pleasure, to existence. Jacques Lacan, “Knowledge and Truth,” The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knoweldge, (Encore), (Vol. Book XX), Trans. Bruce Fink, W. W. Norton & Company, 1999. 16. Luce Irigaray, This sex which is not one, Trans. Catherine Porter, Cornell University Press, 1985; Hélène Cixous, “Coming to Writing” and Other Essays, Trans. Deborah Jenson, Sarah Cornell, Ann Liddle, Susan Sellers, Harvard University Press, 1992; Julia Kristeva, The Feminine and the Sacred, Trans. Jane Marie Todd, Columbia University Press, 2003. In her essay, Maura Reilly especially develops this idea of a feminine writing in a work by Ghada Amer as defined by Hélène Cixous: “Writing the Body: The Art of Ghada Amer,” Ghada Amer, Ghada Amer and Maura Reilly, Gregory R. Miller & Company, 2010, p. 6–49. 17. For more on the idea of abstract anthropomorphism or “état naissant” [the “state of being born”, translation] of sculpture, see Georges Didi Huberman’s writings on sculpture in French: Le cube et le visage, Macula, Paris, 1993 and Être Crâne. Lieu, contact, pensée, sculpture, Éditions de Minuit, Paris, 2000. 18. Concerning Pythia, “entrouverte aux esprits,” see Giulia Sissa, Le corps virginal. La virginité féminine en Grèce ancienne, Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, Paris, 1987.



Belle 2014 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 72 x 64 in 182.9 x 162.6 cm



Test #8 2013 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 20 x 20 in 50.8 x 50.8 cm



Test #7 2013 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 20 x 20 in 50.8 x 50.8 cm



Sunset with Words – RFGA 2013 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 48 x 50 in 121.9 x 127 cm



The Rainbow Girl 2014 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 70 x 59 in 177.8 x 149.9 cm



Test #5 2013 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 18 x 20 in 45.7 x 50.8 cm



The Heart 2012 painted stainless steel 33 3/4 x 42 1/4 x 33 in 85.7 x 107.3 x 83.8 cm



Amina 2013 acrylic, watercolor crayons, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 50 x 60 in 127 x 152.4 cm

The Big Black Bang – RFGA 2013 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 102 x 132 in 259.1 x 335.3 cm



Test #6 2013 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 20 x 20 in 50.8 x 50.8 cm



Blue Bra Girls 2012 stainless steel 73 x 60 x 54 in 185.4 x 152.4 x 137.2 cm



Portrait #1 2013 watercolor on paper 12 x 9 in 30.5 x 22.9 cm



Leila 2013 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 50 x 50 in 127 x 127 cm



Nobody Gives You 2013 watercolor on paper 10 1/4 x 14 1/8 in 26 x 35.9 cm



Mandy 2013 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 48 x 50 in 121.9 x 127 cm



The Words I Love the Most 2012 bronze with black patina 60 x 60 x 60 in 152.4 x 152.4 x 152.4 cm



Norah 2014 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 72 x 64 in 182.9 x 162.6 cm





Born in Cairo, Egypt Lives and works in New York

1991 1989 1987 1986

Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques, Paris, France MFA in Painting, Villa Arson E.P.I.A.R., Nice, France School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA BFA in Painting, Villa Arson E.P.I.A.R., Nice, France


Rainbow Girls, Cheim & Read, New York


Ghada Amer, Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Montreal, Canada


Ghada Amer: 100 Words of Love, Cheim & Read, New York No Romance: Ghada Amer, Reza Farkhondeh and Collaborative Work, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa


Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh: The Gardens Next Door, Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon, Portugal Ghada Amer: Color Misbehavior, Cheim & Read, New York


Ghada Amer: Failing Shahrazad, Dirimart, Istanbul, Turkey Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh: Roses Off Limits, Pace Prints, New York


Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh: Collaborative Drawings, Tina Kim Fine Arts, New York Ghada Amer – Reza Farkhondeh: A New Collaboration on Paper, Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore Ghada Amer: Love Has No End, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, New York


Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh: Collaborative Drawings, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, South Korea Ghada Amer: Another Spring, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, South Korea Ghada Amer, curated by D. Eccher, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome, Italy Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh - An Indigestible Dessert, Francesca Minini, Milan, Italy Le Salon Courbé, Francesca Minini, Milan, Italy Ghada Amer, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Ghada Amer: Paintings & RFGA Drawings, curated by J. Poodt, The Stedelijk Museum, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Ghada Amer: Breathe Into Me, Gagosian Gallery, New York




Ghada Amer, curated by R. Smith, H&R Block Artspace at Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri The Reign of Terror, curated by Anja Chávez, Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts


Ghada Amer, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, California Ghada Amer, curated by Teresa Millet, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain


Forefront 45: Ghada Amer, curated by L.D. Freiman, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana Ghada Amer, Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia, Italy Universal Strangers, curated by Rosa Martínez, Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon, Portugal


Ghada Amer, Gagosian Gallery, London, England Ghada Amer, curated by S. Bos, De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands Works by Ghada Amer, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California Ghada Amer, Galerie Guy Bärtschi, Geneva, Switzerland


Encyclopedia of Pleasure, Deitch Projects, New York Reading Between the Threads, curated by Selene Wendt, Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway; travelled to Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, Germany; Bildmuseet, University of Umeå, Umeå, Sweden Ghada Amer: Pleasure, curated by Valerie Cassel, Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Texas Ghada Amer: Recent Work, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois


Ghada Amer, curated by A.J. Laferrière, Centre Culturel Contemporain, Tours, France Ghada Amer Drawings, Anadil Gallery, Jerusalem Intimate Confessions, Deitch Projects, New York; travelled to Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel, Kunst-Werke, Berlin Ghada Amer, University of Wisconsin Institute of Visual Arts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Ghada Amer, curated by Margarita Aizpuru, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain Ghada Amer, Brownstone, Corréard & Cie, Paris, France The Freedom Salon, Project Room, Feria Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo (ARCO), Deitch Projects, Madrid, Spain


Ghada Amer, Espace Karim Francis, Cairo, Egypt Ghada Amer, Galerie Karin Sachs, Munich, Germany Ghada Amer, Galerie Brownstone, Corréard & Cie, Basel Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland Ghada Amer, Annina Nosei Gallery, New York


Ghada Amer, Galerie Météo, Paris, France Ghada Amer, Espace Karim Francis, Cairo, Egypt


Ghada Amer, Hanes Art Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina Ghada Amer, Annina Nosei Gallery, New York


Ghada Amer, Centre Jules Verne, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France Ghada Amer, Zoo Galerie, Nantes, France


Ghada Amer, Galerie Météo, Paris, France


Ghada Amer, Hôpital Ephémère, Paris, France Ghada Amer, curated by Barbara Fässler, Projekt Raum, Zürich, Switzerland


Ghada Amer, Villa Arson, Nice, France


Art & Textiles: Fabric as Material and Concept in Modern Art from Klimt to the Present, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany; travelled to Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany


Prism – Drawing from 1990–2011, The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway Le Corps Découvert, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France The Mediterranean Approach, SESC Pinheiros, São Paulo, Brazil Tea with Nefertiti: The Making of the Artwork by the Artist, the Museum and the Public, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar Loin des yeux pres du corps, curated by Thérèse St-Gelais, Galerie de l'Uqam, University du Quebec a Montreal, Montreal, Canada Stretching the Limits: Fibers in Contemporary Painting, Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia


The Women in Our Life: A Fifteen Year Anniversary Exhibition, Cheim & Read, New York Of Women’s Modesty and Anger, Boghossian Foundation, Villa Empain, Brussels, Belgium The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, France TOLD / UNTOLD / RETOLD, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar Flowers, Elizabeth Schwartz, LLC, New York


In Context: A 2010 Initiative, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa Until Now: Collecting the New (1960–2010), Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota America Now + Here, Artrain, Ann Arbor, Michigan I Love You!, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark 185th Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National


Academy Museum, New York Wild is the Wind, Gutstein Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia



In Stitches, curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody, Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, New York III Moscow Biennale; Against Exclusion, curated by Jean-Huber Martin, Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia Abstractions by Gallery Artists, Cheim & Read, New The Female Gaze: Women Look At Women, Cheim & Read, New York


Prospect 1, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana Demons, Yarns & Tales: Tapestry by Contemporary Artists, curated by Banners of Persuasion, The Dairy Art Centre, London, England; travelled to Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, Florida The Future Must Be Sweet: The Lower East Side Printshop Celebrates 40 Years, curated by Marilyn S. Kushner, International Print Center, New York Valeurs Croisées, Biennale d’Art Contemporain, Rennes, France Pandora’s Box, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Canada Far From Home, North Carolina Museum of Arts, Raleigh, North Carolina


Pricked: Extreme Embroidery, Museum of Art and Design, New York Alles Klar? Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Ägypten, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria Dialogues Méditerranéens, curated by Susanne Van Hagen, St. Tropez, France Afterglow, curated by Laurie Farell and Celina Jeffrey, Savannah College of Art and Design, Lacoste, France Substance and Surface, Bortolami Gallery, New York Reconstruction # 2, Sudeley Castle, Winchombe, Gloucestershire, England Checklist, curated by Fernando Alvim and Simon Njami, African pavilion, Arsenale Artiglierie, La Biennale di Venizia 52nd, Venice, Italy Commemorating 30 years: Part Three, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois Inscribing Meaning, National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; travelled to Fowler Museum of Cultural History at UCLA, Los Angeles, California Gender Stitchery: Artist Knit/Sew Art, curated by Laurel Bradley, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota Global Feminisms, curated by Maura Reilly and Linda Nochlin, Brooklyn Museum, New York; travelled to Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts What F word? curated by Carol Cole Levin, Cynthia Broan Gallery, New York Collective One, Guy Bärtschi Galerie, Geneva, Switzerland


Hot Off the Press: Prints of 2006 from New York Printshops, curated by Janice Carlson Oresman, The Grolier Club, New York Kitaj: Little Pictures, Marlborough Fine Art, London Showcase for Contemporary Works on Paper, INK Miami, Miami, Florida Insolence, Maison Guerlain, Paris, France Grand Promenade, curated by A. Kafetsi, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece

Reconstruction #1, curated by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst & Elliot McDonald, Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England Zones of Contact, Biennial of Sydney, Sydney, Australia Word into Art, British Museum, London, England La Force de l'Art, Paris Triennial, Grand Palais, Paris, France The Garden Party, Deitch Projects, New York Without Boundary, Seventeen Ways of Looking, curated by F. Daftari, Museum of Modern Art, New York Threads of Memory, curated by Margaret Matthews-Berenton, Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City, New York C’era una Volta un Re. La Fiaba Contemporanea, curated by D. Denegri, ARCOS, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Sannio, Benevento, Italy Soie, Centre d’Art Contemporain Le Rectangle, Lyon, France 2005

Donna Donne. Uno Sguardo sul Feminile nell’arte Contemporanea, curated by Adelina von Fürstenberg, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy Centre of Gravity, curated by Rosa Martinez, Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey Hanging by a Thread, Moore Space, Miami, Florida Here Comes the Sun, curated by Daniel Birnbaum, Rosa Martinez, Jerome Sans and Sarit Shapira, Magasin 3, Stocholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden Fairy Tales Forever: International Homage to H.C. Andersen, AroS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Copenhagen, Denmark Down the Garden Path, curated by Valerie Smith, Queens Museum of Art, Queens, New York Vertigo, curated by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England Always a Little Further, curated by Rosa Martinez, La Biennale di Venizia 51st, Venice, Italy Identità & Nomadismo, Palazzo delle Papesse Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena, Italy Works on Paper, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, California Femmes, organized by Art for the World, Musée de Carouge, Carouge, Switzerland; travelled to Florence, Italy; Brussels, Belgium TEXTures: Word and Symbol in Contemporary African Art, National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC Confluence, curated by Jennifer Gately, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Sun Valley, Idaho


Art Basel Miami Beach, Deitch Projects, Miami, Florida De Leur Temps, les Collections Privées Françaises, curated by Evelyne Dorothée Allemand and Michel Poitevin, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tourcoing, France Freedom Salon, Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues & Ideas, Deitch Projects, New York Africa Remix, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany; travelled to Hayward Gallery, London, England; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden Monument to Now, Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece Periplo del Mediterraneo, curated by Maurizio Calvesi and Marisa Vescovo, Museo


dell’Accademia Ligustica di Belli Arti e Loggia di Banchi o della Mercanzia, Genova, Italy Hommage à Georges Pompidou: Parcours dans les Collections du Musée d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France Ghada Amer, Shirazeh Houshiary, Sue Williams, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, South Korea Kunst Stoff, curated by Elisabeth von Samsonow and Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Galerie Nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna, Austria Beyond East and West: Seven Transnational Artists, curated by David O’Brien and David Prochaska, Krannert Artmuseum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois; travelled to Louisiana State University Museum of Art, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts Le Opere e i Giorni, La Vanitas, curated by A. Bonito Oliva, Certosa di Sab Lorenzo, Padula, Italy L’Ecriture, le Signe, le Motif, Diocèse du Puy en Velay, le Puy en Velay, France



Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora, curated by Laurie Ann Farrell, Museum of African Art, Long Island City, New York; travelled to Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; Cranbrook Academy of Art, Detroit, Michigan; City Art Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, California Inscribing Meanings: African Arts of Communication, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC Rêverie: Works from the Collection of Douglas S. Cramer, Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky Corporal Identity-Body Language, 9th Triennial for Form and Content, curated by Eric de Chassey, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Klingspor Museum, Offenbach am Main, Germany; travelled to Museum of Arts & Design, New York Sites of Recurrence, Madras Craft Foundation, Dakshina Chitra, Chennai, India; travelled to Borås Konstmuseum, Borås, Sweden Il Racconto del Filo: Ricamo e cucito nell’arte contemporanea, curated by F. Pasini and G. Verzotti, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Roverto, Roverto, Italy Feminine Persuasion: Contemporary Women’s Sexualities, School of Fine Arts Gallery and the Kinsey Institute of Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana Aligned, Florence Lynch Gallery, New York Harem Fantasies and the New Scheherazades, curated by Rose Issa, Centro de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain


Doble Filo, curated by Xabier Arakistain, Bilbao Arte, Bilbao Go Figure, curated by M. Steinberg and S. Stoyanov, Luxe Gallery, New York Contemporary Art Project, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington.


Best of 2001, Loevenbruck Gallery, Paris, France Accrochage, Galerie Guy Bärtschi, Geneva, Switzerland

Sous-Titrée X, la Pornographie entre Image et Propos, curated by Ramon Tio Bellido, Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Tours, Tours, France Mediterranean – the New Wall? Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal Unfolding Perspective, ARS 01, curated by T. Arkio, M. Jaukkuri, P. Nyberg and J. Vanhala, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Finland Threads of Vision: Toward a New Feminine Poetics, curated by Kristin Chambers, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio Experiences, curated by Rosa Martinez, Barcelona Art Report, 2001 Triennial, Barcelona, Spain Uncommon Threads: Contemporary Artists Clothing, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York The Short Century, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Museum Village Stuck, Munich, Germany; travelled to Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois; MoMA, PS1, Long Island City, New York Heureux le Visionnaire…, La Louvière: Centre de la Gravure, La Louvière, Belgium Art Through the Eye of the Needle, Henie-Onstad Kunstsenterm, Oslo, Norway Entretejidos-Texturas: Arte Contemporeaneo y Artesania Frances, Museo des Artes de Lima, Peru; travelled to Museo Nacional, Rio de Janerio, Brazil; Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2000

Cross Female, curated by B. Höffer, V. Schulte-Fischedick, Metaphern des Weiblichen inder Kunst Derguer Jahre, Berlin, Germany; travelled to Halle Tony Garnier, Lyon, France Fait-maison, Musée International des Arts Modestes, Sète, France Innuendo, Dee/Glasoe Gallery, New York Partage d’Exotismes, curated by Racines, 5th Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, Musée Dauphinois, Grenoble, France Rooms and Secrets/Stanze e Segreti, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, Rotonda del Besana, Milan, Italy Man and Space, Kwangju Biennial 2000, curated by René Block, Gwangju, South Korea Whitney Biennial, curated by M. Lincoln Andersen, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Friends & Neighbors, EV+A 2000, curated by Rosa Martinez, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick, Ireland Greater New York: New Art in New York Now, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York Leaving the Island, curated Rosa Martinez, Pusan International Contemporary Art Festival 2000, Metropolitan Art Museum, Pusan, South Korea Continental Shift: A Journey between Cultures, African Artists in Europe, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany; travelled to Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, Netherlands; Musée d’Art Moderne, Liège, France; Stadsgalerij Heerlen, Netherlands


Radicalité dire les qualités, Galerie Brownstone & Corréard, Paris, France Corps Social, curated by Eric de Chassey, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France Skin, curated by Andrea Gilbert, Deste Foundation Center for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece


Looking for a Place, Third International Site Santa Fe Biennial, curated by Rosa Martínez, Santa Fe, New Mexico APERTO Over All, 48th International Art Exhibition, curated by Harold Szeeman, Biennale di Venezia, Italy



Mar de Fondo, curated by Rosa Martinez, Teatre Romà de Sagunt, Valencia, Spain L’Un et l’Autre et Vice et Versa, Espace Paul Riquet, Béziers, France Loose Threads, curated by Lisa Corrin, Serpentine Gallery, London, England The Edge of Awareness, curated by Adelina von Furstenberg, World Health Organization Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland; travelled to United Nations Building, New York; MoMa PS1 New York; SESC Pompéia, Sao Paulo, Brazil; WHO Regional Office/The Rabindra Bahvan Lalitkala Academy, New Delhi, India L’Entrelacement & l’Enveloppe Pratiques et Métaphores Textiles, Villa du Parc, Annemasse, France Métissages, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, France; travelled to Musée de Louviers, Belgium; Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Saint-Brieuc, Château de Vogüé, Ardèche, France; Espace Saint-Jacques, Ville de San Quentin, San Quentin, France; Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Saint Brieuc, France Exposition de Groupe, Espace Louise Michel, Paris, France Echolot, curated by René Block, Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany L’Envers du Décor, Dimensions Décoratives dans l’Art du XXème Siècle, Musée d’Art Moderne Lille Métropole, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France


French Kiss, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada Alternating Currents, 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor and Octavio Zaya, Johannesburg, South Africa FIAC, Galerie Météo, Paris, France Produire, Créer, Collectionner, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Paris, France Ici et Maintenant, Parc de la Villette, Paris, France Thread, Cristinerose Gallery, New York Aamitiés et Autres Catastrophes, La Carte du Tendre. Le Crestet Centre d’Art, Le Crestet, France Art Basel, Galerie Météo, Basel, Switzerland What’s Next… On Canvas, Elga Wimmer, New York Vraiment Feminisme et Art, curated by Laura Cottingham, Le Magasin Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, Grenoble, France Ici et Maintenant (encore), 13 Quai Voltaire, Paris, France Sous le Manteau, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, curated by Caroline Smulders, Paris, France Heureux le Visionnaire…, Commande publique du CNAP, Maison Levanneur de l’Estampe et de l’Art Imprimé, Chatou, France


Le Bonheur de Vivre, ses Ravages sur l’Inconscient…, Galerie Météo, Paris, France Container ’96, Cultural Capital of Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark Ceremonial, curated by Barry Schwabsky, Apex Art Gallery, New York Miniatures, Espace Karim Francis, Cairo, Egypt

The Sense of Order, curated by Z. Badavinac, Moderne Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia Sans Regrets, Toxic New Art, Luxembourg Die Raüber der Strandguts, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany; travelled to Institut Français, Munich, Germany 1995

Figures, Le Parvis, Tarbes, France. Tampons d’artistes, Musée de la Poste, Paris, France Group Invitational Show, Annina Nosei Gallery, New York Territoires Occupés/Kunst Konversion, curated by Béatrice Josse and Maximilian G. Van de Sand, Fonds régional d'art contemporain Lorraine, Lorraine, France; travelled to Arge Kunst Südwestpfalz, Germany. Orient/ation, The Vision of Art in a Paradoxical World, 4th International Istanbul Biennial, curated by René Block, Istanbul, Turkey Etrangères au Paradis, curated by Michel Nuridsany, Le Monde de l’Art, Paris, France Pittura/Immedia, curated by Peter Weibel, Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria The Mutated Painting, Galerie Martina Detterer, Frankfurt, Germany Le Duc sur un Noyau de Cerise et La Princesse au Petit Pois…, Friedenstein Castle Kunstverlag, Gotha, Germany; travelled to Fonds régional d'art contemporain Auvergne, Villeneuve Lembron, France …Wie Gemalt, Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany Annina Nosei Gallery, New York


CAC, curated by Catherine Arthus Bertrand, St. Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux, France Bifurcations, Abbaye Saint André, Meymac, France; travelled to Cimaise et Portique, Albi, France; Musée de Dole, Dole, France Mété(vous)o-show, Galerie Météo, FIAC Paris, France Snark, cabinet des desseins, Galerie Pierre Nouvion, Monaco, Monte-Carlo.


June, curated by Oliver Zahm, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France The Armoire Show, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hôtel Carlton Palace, Paris, France SMGP2A, Galerie Barbier-Beltz, Galerie Météo, Paris, France


37ème Salon de Montrouge, Montrouge, France Montrouge à Montbélliard, Musée de Montbélliard, Montbélliard, France I Love Paris, Hôpital Ephémère, Paris, France Les Mystères de l’Auberge Espagnole, Villa Arson, Nice, France Une Rose est une Rose, Galerie Météo, Paris, France


My Beautiful Lady, Villa Arson, Nice, France


PUBLIC COLLECTIONS Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama Brooklyn Museum, New York Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Michigan Fond National d’Art Contemporain (FNAC) Paris, France Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC), Auvergne, France Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France Hood Art Museum, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar Museums Authority, Doha, Qatar Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, Germany Neuberger Berman Art Collection, New York Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany Samsung Museum, Seoul, South Korea Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel



Photography: Brian Buckley and Christopher Burke Portrait opposite title page: Nat Gory Editorial Assistance: Dulce Shultz ISBN 978–0–9851410–9–7 Printed in Italy by Trifolio


Pri n t ed i n an edi t i on of 2,000 on t h e oc c as i on of t h e 2 0 1 4 e xhibition


C H E I M & R E A D N EW YOR K 2014

Text Anne Creissels Design John Cheim Editor Ellen Robinson


Profile for Cheim Read

Ghada Amer  

Exhibition catalogue for Ghada Amer: Rainbow Girls at Cheim & Read, New York, 2014.

Ghada Amer  

Exhibition catalogue for Ghada Amer: Rainbow Girls at Cheim & Read, New York, 2014.

Profile for cheimread

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