Youssef Nabil — You Never Left
You Never Left
Past: May 14 → July 13, 2011
Nathalie Obadia is delighted to present You Never Left, the first Paris solo exhibition by Egyptian artist Youssef Nabil.
This exhibition is a double first, since the artist known for his work combining photography and painting will also be presenting his first film, an 8 minute piece with the actors Fanny Ardant and Tahar Rahim set in an allegorical “other place” that is a metaphor of a lost Egypt.
You Never Left represents a major turning point in the career of the artist whose entire body of work has been inspired by cinema. In this piece Youssef Nabil reverently and inventively revisits the aesthetic characteristics of Egyptian cinema’s golden age — the stars, Technicolor, the type of film stock — that inspired his own calling as an artist. Around this very fine piece of film, the exhibition also features a new series of photographs.
“Cinema is the distillation of life” says Fanny Ardant in an interview with the artist. You Never Left has the same personal, diaristic quality that we find in Nabil’s photographic work. The film shows a man (Tahar Rahim) who has left his homeland in pursuit of his destiny, which is also a movie script, poignantly confronting the mother country. Embodied here by Fanny Ardant as a sublime mater dolorosa, in this initiatory narrative Egypt becomes an inner region of the artist’s own self, his mental landscape.
Displaying all the colourist talent of Nabil’s photographic work, You Never Left is rich in allusion and mystery, deriving great power from the tension between these and the hyper-realism of film. Its very form embodies the permanent oscillation between the desire for other places and nostalgia for what has been known.
Sketching a parallel between exile and death, in You Never Left Youssef Nabil has created a genuine self-portrait in film, at once intimate and solemn.