Mona Marzouk’s interest in architectural histories is visible in many of her works – in painting, sculpture as well as site-specific murals and paintings. Blurring the boundary between past and present day, man-made and natural, biomorphic and geometrical, personal and political, beautiful and ugly, and masculine and feminine, Marzouk redefines how we see the world.
With the sensibility of a maverick architect, Marzouk envisions aesthetic systems that draw on a diversity of cultural traditions but which can only exist in the realm of the imagination. Her early paintings and sculptures reassemble disparate architectural elements from history as well as animal and body parts to construct unified compositions. Castles and cathedrals, crenellations and crustaceans merge together in fluid form. Her compositions, which often float in the center of a frame, reference post-minimalism, with their hard edges and flat expanses of solid color.
Her later works take on a more menacing and aggressive quality. Strong saturated colors and the introduction of black replace a pale bi-chromatic palette. Through imaginative studies of objects such as flags and helmets, Marzouk tackles politically loaded themes such as war, sports, nationhood, space technology and oil industry and how they habitually manifest themselves in our daily life. With a whimsical touch, her work pulls us into a futuristic, mythological universe compelling us to forge unexpected relationships between what is otherwise familiar or ordinary.
Mona Marzouk was born in 1968 and lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt. After finishing her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1996, Marzouk returned to her hometown of Alexandria, Egypt, to launch her professional career in painting and sculpture. Selected solo exhibitions include The Bride Stripped Bare of her Energy's Evil, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2008); The New World, Art in General, New York and Townhouse Gallery, Cairo; MUSAC, León, Spain (2006). Selected group exhibitions include Havana Biennial (2012); Second World: Where is Progress Progressing, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, curated by What, How & for Whom / WHW (2011); 8th Gwanju Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor (2008); 1st Canary Islands Biennale, Spain (2006). From 2005 to 2013, Marzouk co-founded and co-directed the artist-run space Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum in Egypt.