Abd Elmalak’s diverse portfolio exemplifies not only his versatility, but perhaps even more importantly his unique ability to blend the conventional and unconventional in thoughtful harmony.
Safarkhan has the utmost pleasure to bring you a timely exhibition that is a revival of the late Ibrahim Abd Elmalak’s (1944-2011) celebrated oeuvre from May 10 to June 1. Abd Elmalak is the father of our resident artist Karim Abd Elmalak, and Ibrahim’s indelible influence is imbued in his son’s widely popular work in its figurative, technical and spiritual aspects. This exhibition constitutes a comprehensive curation of ink drawings, paintings, and metal and wooden sculpture sourced from across the breadth of Abd Elmalak’s diverse body of work, and in essence it is a posthumous continuation of his Years of Love series of exhibitions that he had risen to prominence on. Abd Elmalak’s diverse portfolio exemplifies not only his versatility, but perhaps even more importantly his unique ability to blend the conventional and unconventional in thoughtful harmony, which esteemed Modernist and author Hussein Bicar (1913-2002) deemed a “highly intelligent duality between the kinetics of the universe and its stillness.”
This collection features as some of its main attractions Abd Elmalak’s accomplished and adventurous sculpture work spanning bronze, wood, and marble mediums. Sculptures that mostly depict his characteristic figures of feminine form and feeling – a central element to Abd Elmalak’s creative process – which he thoughtfully marries with symbolically complementary elements from nature or with the alluring concoctions of his own imagination. Their fronts exude his romantic artistic language evident in his prose and poetry, as he was also a prolific writer, while their backs reveal a new composition of a different language and content, based on a concept of absolute abstraction. Bicar explains Abd Elmalak’s artistic duality as one in which the language of silence integrates with the language of dialogue to “create an unconventional moral unity that confirms its solidity and tenderness simultaneously.”
The selection of Abd Elmalak’s drawings are reflective of a compositional method that is based on free-flowing and distinct lines and contours that he uses to amalgamate caricature-esque female figures with monuments and landmarks from his travels, script, animals and natural elements into interconnected and unified tapestries. His selected paintings explore themes of entrapment, companionship, oppression, emancipation, and faith, which he explores and animates through his demure and virtuous women subjects, all of which exhibit a certain poise, elegance and depth of character. Abd Elmalak graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts Cairo in 1969 after which he completed his studies at the Italian Arts Academy of Rome in 1976-77. He featured in numerous solo exhibitions in Egypt and then abroad in many countries across Europe, Africa and America. He was press illustrator and art critic at the widely circulated Sabah El Kheir magazine. He also served on the board of the Association of Fine Arts in Egypt as a chief consultant for decor at the Ministry of Information and the Egyptian Armed Forces from 1969 to 1976, and authored a book on one of Egypt’s greatest pioneers Salah Abdel Kerim (1925-1987) in 2001, under whose mentorship he studied while at university.