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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Mandy El-Sayegh: May I 2020

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Lehmann Maupin / Online / Art

“I’m interested in the erasure of meaning,” the Malaysian-British artist Mandy El-Sayegh told Ocula magazine in 2018. She’s also interested in “the accumulation of meaning through a layering system.” This exhibition of El-Sayegh’s “Piece” paintings—multitiered works that include collage, text, found imagery, silkscreen, and more—demonstrates the active seeing she expects from her viewers. By compiling recognizable but disparately sourced images—Chinese text, a painted bust, an inky stamp of french fries—the work as a whole is rendered incoherent, leaving us to derive meaning for ourselves. Such a practice disrupts authoritative systems of language, law, and aesthetics. El-Sayegh’s paintings are at once philosophical and political. —C.J.F.

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