Over the past three decades, Ghada Amer’s quest to forge an aesthetic language for the oppression of women has established her as one of the most important and widely exhibited contemporary artists. Born in Cairo in 1963, and moving to France at age 11, from early on in life Amer was witness to the cross-cultural subjugation of women, whether from increasing religious conservatism in Egypt, or via the subtler machinations of Western commodity culture. In Amer’s hand-embroidered paintings, delicate abstract tracings of sewn thread are counterposed with often quiet but sometimes confrontational erotic imagery. Trawling all manner of materials from fashion magazines, children’s fairy tales, pornography, dictionaries, the Koran and medieval Arabic manuscripts, Amer challenges their authority, highlighting their exclusions and countering with a powerfully asserted female subject.
This handsome monograph is the first publication to document the full breadth of her art, with numerous images of and detailed commentary on her paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, videos, performances and garden works. Art historian Maura Reilly contributes a substantial scholarly text that chronicles the trajectory of Amer’s career, and art historian Laurie Farrell focuses on the artist’s collaborative works with Reza Farkondeh. Also included is a conversation between the artist and scholar Martine Antle, plus a complete chronology, exhibition list and bibliography, all of which affirm this volume as the definitive resource on the artist.