Deux Djellabas, Paris 2007


Archival pigment ink on archival cotton-rag paper

75 x 115 cm

Two men's thighs are intertwined on a floral-patterned pink sheet. Their raised djellabas reveal their nakedness. Only the red tip of a hookah in the foreground disrupts the scene's intimacy.

Egyptian photographer Youssef Nabil continually plays with the codes of the orientalist imagination, where only female homoeroticism seems permissible. He strives to depict all forms of sexuality in reverse, staging the intimate encounter between two men that the phallic motif of the hookah tends to make explicit. Colouring the print with pastel tones by hand heightens the phantasmagorical dimension.

Deux Djellabas, Paris 2007 (Two Djellabas, Paris 2007) is being presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection during Nabil's 2020 solo show “Once Upon A Dream” at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.