Dreams about Cairo, 2008


Four archival pigment ink on archival cotton-rag paper

115 x 75 cm (each)

The four formats of Dreams about Cairo are as many visions disturbed by reflections and flashes of light that stretch and multiply until they saturate the composition. The original, fragmented motifs appear in an abstract blur making it impossible to identify them: are they carpets, chandeliers or mosque lamps? The indecisive title suggests a phantasmagorical imagination.

Youssef Nabil's photography is haunted by the experience of exile. In 2003 he left Egypt to live freely from his art. Five years later, he made a series of 12 prints with the same name, including the four present versions dedicated to his hometown. Nabil would rather evoke almost pictorial visual impressions than recognizable figurative reproductions. He suggests a portrait of a vibrant city dazzling with light.

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, Dreams About Cairo, 2008 is being presented for the first time during Nabil's 2020 solo show “Once Upon A Dream” at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.