VIA AURELIA

NAGUIB MOEIN

Naguib was born in Egypt 1981. He graduated from the faculty of fine arts in Alexandria in 2003 from sculpture department. That same year he started his Masters in monumental sculpture and he achieved his Master in 2009. He also achieved sculpture master from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, Italy in 2014.

Naguib has been working as a professor in sculpture in the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria since 2004. He has also been part of the Egyptian Contemporary Art Movement, since 1998. He had been participating in many symposiums and exhibitions in different countries from 2000 to 2012 and he did receive several awards for his work. From 2012 he moved to Italy where he started to create his artworks at the Nicoli Studio in Carrara and from 2014 till 2015 Naguib studied and created his own artworks at Wunsiedel Center in Germany.

Gambling on an individual identity
By Dr. Yasser Mongy
Sculptures we come across in this exhibition appear to be in a process of metempsychosis. Their gaze is reminiscent of flirting look of beautiful blondes introduced to us by exponents of the Northern and Fleming renaissance, such as Hans Memling, Rogier van der Weyden; almond eyes wearing eyeliner seem to be surrendering to an overpowering destiny. In the meantime, they appear to be attempting an escape to the depth of soul, rebelling against body's metaphysical presence and desires.

The gaze of these sculptures is a communication of worries of the Gothic soul, which overwhelmed Europe, especially its northern part in late Middle Age to early 15th century. Perhaps, this Gothic soul did not reveal its powers in art and faith. Faith and its rituals were moulded to a discipline so inescapable and strict that souls would stand trembling at the gate of Jahanam (Hell), attempting to disassociate itself from the hedonistic pleasures; and yearning, instead to associate itself with heaven.
On other hand, art committed itself to honestly communicating better understanding of the afterlife by bringing about physical concepts and symbols of the afterlife. Accordingly, places of worship, such as admirable cathedrals and churches soared to the sky; and sculpture and painting melted into the overwhelming religious architecture to express spiritual feelings.

It was such an overflowing melting pot, from which Egyptian sculptor Mohamed Naguib Moein drew his inspiration to create a singular experiment within the frame of classic concepts of aesthetics. He was fully aware that the challenge was difficult; and that his experiment should enjoy contemporary potentials, otherwise he would be invoking artificially an outdated art.
Moein's adventure in this regard was not a random planning prompted by nostalgia for the past. He studied his experiment intellectually and carefully to plan his artistic footprints; and reveal his identity.
After graduating from the sculpture department of Alexandria's Faculty of Fine Art in 2003, Moein had the opportunity to join Studi di Scultural Nicoli, which was established in the Italian city of Carrara in 1863 by sculptor Carlo Nicoli (1843-1915). The studio named in 1998 Nicoli e Lyndam Sculptures in 1998, is internationally regarded as the bastion of Italian sculpture.
He keenly decided to walk in the footsteps of great sculptors, who were given their credit in Carrara. Appreciating the exceptional opportunity he had had, Moein had the stamina and the determination to upgrade and develop his art.
He did an MA in monumental sculpture in Egypt; and was awarded PhD from Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara.
Making use of his researches and academic achievements, he did not find it challenging to explore footpaths in his fertile cultural soil. He was keen to strike a compromise between this foreign land's inputs on the one hand and intriguing heritage of his native culture.
We can state that Moein's discovery of the aesthetics of Gothic art was the result of logic assessments and his cosmopolitan cultural nurture in Alexandria, which was also stimulated by the components of Coptic culture deepened in the mosaic of Egyptian mood.

Equipped with such spiritual and cultural potentials, Moein ambitiously sought to have a first-hand experience in Gothic architecture. He toured several cathedrals; and he adventurously ascended the highest point of several places of worship to record in his visual and space memory the influence of such architectural masterpieces, and their unique design and structure.
Moein's sculptures are the highlight of his individual architectural feature, which breaks the classic anatomical proportions of the human body. He freed the human body from its physical nature; and instead brought it to a constructional abbreviation inspired by the gothic soul, which yearns to contact the Absolute Supreme; and liberates itself from the body's physical presence and hedonistic pleasures.
Moein's sculptures are given their logical forms and features; their gaze legitimized their physical presence. These sculptures are inspired by the intriguing Gothic architecture, in which the horror of death combines with a vow of celibacy; and its beautiful structures dance to the rhythms of sheer horror.
In his search for a harmony of the classic architectural features, Moein assessed clever optical and space solution to bring about a harmony of the mainstream architectural features of his sculpture, and contemporary assessment of blocs and surfaces, which are the borderlines between void and textural potentials. Accordingly, he transformed Gothic exceptional voids to visual rhythms echoing beautifully in the surface. He, sometimes, sought to explore paths in carefully-assessed spaces in his sculptures to revive--in our visual memory--vivid images of contemporary pillars, ornamented openings and windows, courtyards and doors, which are the landmarks in Gothic architecture.
Rose (or Catherine) windows are given influential role to produce music in his works. He paid special attention to active forms more than decoration. For example, Moein's windows are featuring prominently at the heart of the sculpture, or at the forehead; and they would also appear in profile to motivate vivid appearance in the work.
On the other hand, Moein's exceptional technique stimulated communication between the viewer and the portraits of his human representations. Unlike different parts, which appear rough as a result of rhythms; Moein's portraits enjoy soft and delicate surface. Rough parts and external lines of the portraits give the impression they are ruins of the architecture of an ancient civilization overpowered by the forces of Nature to produce algae and fungi.
Moein stressed such a visual impression by using patina of oxidized brass forms, which would also be confused with wooden blocs featuring pores caused by algae and fungi.
The Egyptian talent also used golden foils to briefly and admirably decorate the surface. His technique in this respect appears to be based on a harmony produced by shades of bright and dominating green colours; he motivated admirable visual impression, which is his landmark. visual impression is stimulated by a blend of different types of wood and stone. In the meantime, the wood-stone blend underlines opposing feel in the portrait and the body to stress the presence of the individual identity of each work.
As a result, Moein demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the Flamboyant technique, which is the last chapter of Gothic architecture in France. Flamboyant was distinguished by supplementary decorative forms, which took the shape of torches producing intersected flames. His technique in this regard testified that the Egyptian sculptor has the potentials to invoke and develop Gothic Revival, which unfolded in Britain and Scotland in the 18th century before it swept across the world in the 19th century without breaking the limits of architectural design.
Moein walked down Via Aurelia, an economic, military and cultural bridge in Italy before it heavily impacted the history of Europe over centuries. His sculpture is not a nostalgic account of the past of foreign culture. Nor did he bring in a geography to a different space. Rather, Moein consciously revealed symbol of a civilization relate to masterpieces of Gothic architecture.
To sum up, Moein summed up his artistic research when he introduced overlapping inputs and outputs. Via Aurelia has legitimized his ambition, especially when he expanded the concept of identity by breaking the borders of nativity to search for a singular identity compatible with the contemporary bet.
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