Female Cactus, Red Sea 1998


Archival pigment ink on archival cotton-rag paper

115 x 75 cm

In a larger-than-life format, the truncated shape of a cactus endemic to Egypt's Red Sea coast imposes its verticality. The close-up photo highlights the many bunches of thorns forming geometric patterns on its surface.

The velvety aesthetics of Female Cactus, Red Sea 1998 stem from a technique Egyptian photographer Youssef Nabil has used since the early 1990s. He tints his black-and-white prints by hand using a process inherited from colour films in the 1940s. This work belongs to a large series called “Cinema”, which is entirely based on this charmingly old-fashioned technical process.

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, Female Cactus, Red Sea 1998 is being presented for the first time at Nabil's 2020 solo show “Once Upon A Dream” at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.