NOTATIONS, Hefuna’s second solo exhibition at Rhona Hoffman gallery features a group of 25 drawings that were first exhibited at The Drawing Center in New York in September 2013. Coalescing her interests in video, performance, and drawing, NOTATIONS highlights her longstanding fascination with maps, networks, architectural forms, and structural and cultural codes.
Born in Cairo and raised in Egypt and Germany, Hefuna discusses her personal experience living between the two cultures through symbolism and visual metaphors in her work. The Mashrabiya, a decorative architectural screen that marks Islamic art and architecture is a recurrent form in her sculptures and drawings. Negar Azimi describes the Mashrabiya as “a symbol of an imagined subordination of the female in the Middle East… she sees without being seen, arguably occupying a position of privilege, of knowing.”
For the NOTATIONS drawings, Hefuna engages two superimposed layers of paper. Upon the first, in a single, unbroken gesture she draws one continuous line and then positions the second sheet of transparent paper over the original, upon which she makes a second path. Each drawing is created in one sitting with no preparatory tracing. The process is, for Hefuna, a meditative one, combining intense concentration with coincidence; the end result is never known, making each notation unique. Hefuna’s layered, lattice-like networks of lines and connections mimic the Mashrabiya’s imagery indicating a return to her earliest cultural influence of Egyptian architecture. The free-flowing compositions of the drawings carry momentum, diametrically opposing the mores of Islamic tradition the Mashrabiya so strongly inculcates.
Susan Hefuna has been exhibited internationally at institutions and galleries such as the Bait Al Serkal, SAF Art Space in Sharjah, UAE (2014); Drawing Room, London (2014); The Drawing Center, New York (2013); Serpentine Gallery, London (2012); Townhouse, Cairo (2011); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Kunstmuseum, Thun, Switzerland; MUMOK, Vienna (2010); Belvedere Museum, Vienna (2010); Galerie Grita Insam, Vienna, Austria (2010); Fare Mondi, 53rd Venice Biennial, Italy (2009); Seville Biennial, Spain (2008); New Museum, New York, USA (2008); 2nd Riwaq Biennale, Palestine(2007) ; 9th Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2007) ; The Louvre, Paris (2004/2005), France; National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (2001).