Red Egyptian Nightgown, Harlem 2007


Archival pigment ink on archival cotton-rag paper

75 x 115 cm

Bathed in pastel tones, Red Egyptian Nightgown, Harlem 2007 depicts a women's bedroom where purple satiny reflections stand out against the light background of a blue and white striped mattress.

Photographer Youssef Nabil usually stages the bodies of Arab men and women in lascivious poses. Here, however, he disembodies the sensual motif. The Egyptian woman is now only signified by the empty folds of a nightgown. Its pictorial beauty—the result of colouring the print by hand—thus takes on a strong sensual dimension. The absence of the female body and the garment's Egyptian origin echo the experience of exile of the artist, who left Egypt in 2003.

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, Red Egyptian Nightgown, Harlem 2007 is being presented for the first time during Nabil's 2020 solo show “Once Upon A Dream” at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.