‘Monaco-Alexandria, the great detour: World-capitals and cosmopolitan Surrealism’ exhibition opens at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco–Villa Sauber in Monaco

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December 16, 2021
  • ‘Monaco-Alexandria, the great detour: World-capitals and cosmopolitan Surrealism’ will showcase modern art from Alexandria, including works never before shown outside Egypt.
  • Curated by Morad Montazami and Madeleine de Colnet, founders of Zamân Books & Curating, the exhibition runs from December 17, 2021 through to May 2, 2022 at the NMNM–Villa Sauber.
  • The exhibition publication, and the public and educational programme, are produced with the participation of Community Jameel.
  • The exhibition examines the parallel development of the surrealist movement in these two cities, celebrating the history of two major Mediterranean port-cities that nurtured vibrant communities of avant-garde artists during the early decades of the twentieth century.

December 17, 2021 - Monaco: An exhibition of modern art from Alexandria – including works never before shown outside Egypt – opened on December 17, 2021, at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM), the Principality of Monaco’s national museum. Exploring cultural dialogue across the Mediterranean in the early twentieth century, ‘Monaco-Alexandria, the great detour: World-capitals and cosmopolitan Surrealism’ is curated by Morad Montazami and Madeleine de Colnet, at the NMNM-Villa Sauber in Monaco. The exhibition publication, and the public and education programme are produced with the participation of Community Jameel.

Celebrating the history of two major Mediterranean port-cities that nurtured vibrant cosmopolitan communities of avant-garde artists during the early decades of the twentieth century, the exhibition explores the emergence of a Mediterranean experience of modernity, and the parallel – and sometimes intertwined – development of the Surrealist movement in these two cities, with works presented in the context of Monaco’s Villa Sauber, itself reminiscent of Alexandria’s Belle Époque architecture. The NMNM hopes to tour the exhibition to Alexandria upon closing in Monaco in May 2022.

The exhibition features works by: Cléa Badaro, Brassaï, Giorgio de Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, Raoul Dufy, Inji Efflatoun, Leonor Fini, Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar, Georges Henein, Fouad Kamel, Ida Kar, Germaine Krull,  André Lhote, Antoine Malliarakis dit Mayo, Joyce Mansour, Mohamed Naghi, Eric de Nemes, Angelo de Riz, Mahmoud Saïd, Wael Shawky, Kamel El-Telmissany, Adham Wanly, Seif Wanly, Ramsès Younan and others.

Björn Dahlström, Director of the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, said: “At the Villa Sauber, the ‘Monaco-Alexandria, the great detour: World-capitals and cosmopolitan Surrealism’ exhibition was constructed by its curators, Morad Montazami and Madeleine de Colnet, as a dialogue between two emblematic Mediterranean ports. By tracing many routes in this interval, they invite us to rethink the history of modernity around large sets of works and themes that go beyond national and official histories, to tell the multiple trajectories of artists, their encounters, and the abundance of their interactions and influences.”

Cléa Daridan, Curator at Community Jameel and Alexandrian art historian, said: “The ‘Monaco-Alexandria, the great detour: World-capitals and cosmopolitan Surrealism’ exhibition aims to rethink the Mediterranean creative space by focusing on two major Belle Époque cosmopolitan cities at the turn of the twentieth century. Community Jameel is proud to be participating in this curatorial endeavour, led by NMNM and Zamân, to consider Modernism and the Surrealist experience in a more inclusive writing of art history, in order to help re-structure a Mediterranean experience of the avant-garde.”

The exhibition was made possible thanks to The May Moein Zeid and Adel Youssry Khedr / MMZAYK Collection, Cairo. The publication and educational and public programme was developed with the support of The Alexis and Anne-Marie Habib Foundation.

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