For its second exhibition, Gypsum Gallery presents a solo show of drawings and paintings by Cairo-based artist Doa Aly. The House of Sleep marks the artist’s return to painting, a medium she had studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cairo. It is an intense new body of work inspired by a tragic love story by the Roman poet Ovid in his epic work The Metamorphoses.
As in many of her earlier video works, Aly’s engagement with mythology and turn-of-the-19th-century fiction is based on a close reading of tales of passion and longing. Ovid’s The House of Sleep is a central episode in the story of Alcyone and Ceyx, a moving tale of conjugal love and mourning.
A psychologically charged atmosphere characterizes her work. Aly’s paintings are fiercely expressive even though the brushwork is non-gestural. Her pencil drawings are sensual, graphic and exhibit a potent struggle between fragility, control and abandon.
Doa Aly was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1976. She currently lives and works in Cairo. Selected group exhibitions include Meeting Points 6, Beirut Art Center, and Argos, Brussels, curated by Okwui Enwezor (2011); The Future of Tradition/The Tradition of Future, Haus Der Kunst, Munich, curated by Chris Dercon; 7th Busan Biennale (2010); 11th Istanbul Biennial, curated by What, How & for Whom / WHW (2009); 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, China, curated by Chang Tsong-zung, Gao Shiming and Sarat Maharaj; Cairoscape, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, curated by Marina Sorbello and Antje Weitzel; PhotoCairo4: The Long Shortcut curated by Aleya Hamza and Edit Molnar, Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo (2008); The Maghreb Connection, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Genève, curated by Ursula Biemann; In Focus, Tate Modern, London, curated by Predrag Pajdic; Recognize, Contemporary Art Forum, London; Port City, Arnolfini Museum, Bristol (2007); Snap Judgments, International Center of Photography, New York, curated by Okwui Enwezor; 7th Dakar Biennial (2006). Aly’s solo shows were featured at Darat Al-Funun, Amman (2010), and the Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2013).