Renowned Egyptian artist Youssef Nabil is all set to host a new solo show at The Third Line gallery in Dubai. Taking place from September 22 to October 28, the exhibition is named after the artist’s fourth video, ‘The Beautiful Voyage,’ which will make its regional debut at the show, alongside a curated selection of some of Nabil’s works after 2016, including images of cinematic landscapes, and imaginary self-portraits.
The show and video take inspiration from the poem Ithaka (1911) by Greek poet Constantine P Cavafy, as it takes the visitor through themes of exile, fate and memory. The eight-minute film features the artist’s muse and Oscar-nominated English actor Charlotte Rampling, and is also the first time Nabil both, directs the project and appears in front of the lens as an actor.
According to art scholar and curator Layla S Diba, the video is a “poetic and ultimately shattering meditation on love, life, memory, death and exile.” The intimate film features the voice of Nabil’s mother, reciting Ithaka, the same verse that she read to him as a boy growing up in Cairo. The verses sing of the importance of life’s journey rather than of its end and set a hopeful tone,” writes Diba in her essay for the exhibition. “The poem is especially poignant since it evokes Nabil’s childhood – a joyful and nostalgic memory of a lost time.” Diba continues, “The words are the artist’s own, the first script he has written and published, and represent a moving summation of the wisdom he has acquired through the years as an outsider in an ever-changing and unsettled world, which resonates deeply.”