Q & A with Susan Hefuna on “Cairo Dreams” at The Third Line

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Structure II (2011) by Susan Hefuna, Aluminium, All images courtesy of the artist and The Third Line

Opening tonight at The Third Line is “Cairo Dreams”, an exhibition revealing new sculptural work by Susan Hefuna. Dynamic and personal, Hefuna’s works capture present time and space through the mediums of aluminum and ink. Her sculptures are dream-like and mystical and connect the spectator with a various thoughts and emotions. A brief talk with the artist reveals the artistic and cultural influences which have impacted her work.

Structure III (2011) by Susan Hefuna, Aluminium

HL: What influences your artwork?

SH: For more than 16 years, I have constantly returned to the theme of the mashribiya, those gridded windows of ancient Islamic architecture that allowed air circulation, filtered light into houses, and protected women from public view but also allowed them to see the outside world.  Ultimately, I want my work to transcend labels, creating an art that is open-ended and overcomes boundaries by directly addressing questions of belonging and representation at large.

Structure IV (2011) by Susan Hefuna, Aluminium

HL: As an artist of dual German and Egyptian heritage, how do your works reflect your cross-cultural origins from the Middle East and Europe?

SH: My work superimposes layers and weaves them to a depth that alludes to limitless meanings, from the direct to the elusive. As an artist of dual heritage-German and Egyptian, my work reflects my experience in between two cultures. I deal with cross-cultural codes and constantly try to play with what images mean and how they work, creating a dream-like space where viewers can attach a wide array of significances to indicators of time and location.

Drawing 13 (2011) by Susan Hefuna, Mold made paper

HL: With a title referring back to Egypt, how specifically do the sculptures in this show    reflect on Cairo?

They are related to the mashrabiya screens – which I have been working with for over 16 years – exterior and interior voyeurism. The mashrabiya has always been a symbol in my work of where I come from, as well are represents separation, yet at the same time it filters and re-connects.

Drawing 18 (2011) by Susan Hefuna, Mold made paper

HL: Can you explain how your chosen medium of sculpture influences your work?

SH: The newest element to my repertoire are the 3 dimensional structures in aluminium. They are very similar to my drawings in the sense that they are connected: their creation and formation has all been conceived in one go. The lines and dots (also seen in the drawings) are all linked and form a map-like molecular structure. I have worked in aluminium in the past, along with bronze – this metal is light and a matt yet polished surface; they look heavy, but are really very light; they reflect the intricacies of my mind, as do the drawings, which is finding a way, a path, a route to the next destination, chapter, stage.

“Cairo Dreams” at The Third Line

Al Quoz 3

04 341 1367

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