Manufiction: A new modern art show depicting a fantasy world of machines

Farah El Alfy
3 Min Read

Imagine a world where the heroes are machines. Whether floating around, busy working or just interacting with one another, the fantasy world created by artist Tarek El Shazly shows a destructive process candy coated in aesthetically pleasing paintings.

Conveyer belts, telephone lines, plumbing systems, light bulbs and more characters are brought to life by El Shazly in his new show entitled “Manufiction, contrasting with solid strong acrylic blue, red and yellow. “The colors are very much based on comic books, he explains, “Very plastic, very artificial. You see there aren’t many mixed colors, a lot of them are pure.

Dina Thabet, an art student who attended the opening of the exhibition at Mashrabia Gallery, feels, “on one hand the colors are very lively they give you warmth in a childish way, and on the other hand he creates this whole world of machinery which is not very colorful putting them together in a detrimental, yet beautiful, way.

This is the artist’s first painting exhibition, though he has been known for his instillations with a similar theme of production and machines. But for this particular project he chose to illustrate it first, and plans to eventually develop it into an animated film. So in a sense, this exhibition is his storyboard.

His characters are repeated through out the paintings, and one specific object shows up a lot whether in the foreground or background. The multicolored entity is a hot air balloon, which is the means of transportation in this dream world.

The large canvases show specific actions, while the smaller ones are a sort of zoom on a certain character.

El Shazly plans to develop his characters into sculptures in his next project.

Around the exhibition people were discussing what El Shazly is trying to state through his choices in the painting. He argues, “I’m not applying anything, I’m trying to be relatively objective without taking anything from what we are looking around us and seeing.

He explains that this world is not governed by the same rules as the world we know. For example, there is no gravity in the machine world.

Businessman Ahmed El Aguizy, who attended the opening of the show remarked, “I love that everything in the painting are floating around not attached to anything like you would imagine. I also like the neatness of the work. The lines are very precise and I can see that every single line in these paintings is very well calculated.

According to Karim Molyneux Berry, another art student at the opening, “The experimentation of solid colors against rigid shapes makes it a new idea for Egyptian art. It’s very modern of Tarek.

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