Publications and Contributions

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Publications (Selection)


Surrealism in Egypt:
Modernism and the Art and Liberty Group

Winner of the 2017 Modernist Studies Association Book Prize

By Sam Bardaouil

Surrealism in Egypt is the first comprehensive analysis of the Surrealist Art and Liberty Group (Art et Liberté – jama’at al-fann wal hurriyyah). Born with the publication of their Manifesto Long Live Degenerate Art on December 22nd, 1938, Art et Liberté were pioneering new art forms and mounting subversive exhibitions that sent shockwaves across local artistic circles. Internationally informed, they aligned themselves with a complex, global and evolving Surrealist movement spanning cities such as Paris, London, Mexico City, New York, Beirut and Tokyo. In the thick of WWII, they created a distinct reworking of Surrealism, which provided a generation of disillusioned Egyptian and non-Egyptian artists and writers, men and women alike, with a platform for cultural reform and anti-Fascist protest. By addressing the group’s long-lost and often misconstrued legacy, and drawing on a substantial body of previously unpublished primary documents and more than 200 field interviews, the author charts Art et Liberté ‘s significant contribution towards Surrealism. Moving beyond the polarizing dichotomies of Saïdian Orientalism and post-colonial discourse, this book rewrites the history of Surrealism itself – advocating for a new definition of the movement that reflects an inclusive vision of art history

  • English Edition: I.B. Tauris, London, 2016, 354 pages, 104 illustrations, ISBN 978-1-78453-651-0

Art et Liberté:
Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt (1938 – 1948)

Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

Published in 5 separate editions, and a total of 5 languages, this is the first exhibition catalogue dedicated to the Surrealist movement in Egypt. The book provides an immersive incursion into the visual universe and artistic legacy of the Surrealist Art and Liberty group (Art et Liberté – jama’at al-fann wal hurriyyah) through more than 200 full-color illustrations of artworks and archival documents, most of which have not been exhibited before. Beyond their interest in a reconfiguration of Surrealist aesthetics, Art et Liberté were equally motivated by a true revolutionary impulse marked by a refusal to conform with the conservative bourgeois tastes of the time. This catalogue plunges the reader into the turbulent artistic scene of Egypt of the 1939s and 1940s providing a comprehensive take on one of Surrealism’s most exciting yet little-known chapters.

  • English Edition – Art et Liberté: Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt (1938 – 1948), Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, with a contribution by James Gifford, Skira Editore Milan, 2016, 224 pages, ISBN 978-2-37074-031-1
  • Arabic Edition – جماعة الفن و الحرية: الإنشقاق و الحرب و السريالية في مصر (١٩٣٨ - ١٩٤٨) : Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Skira Editore Milan, Italy, 2016, 256 pages, ISBN 978-2-37074-050-2
  • French Edition – Art et Liberté: Rupture, Guerre et Surréalisme en Égypte (1938 – 1948), Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Skira Editore Milan, Italy, 2016, 256 pages, ISBN 978-2-37074-030-4
  • German Edition – Art et Liberté: Umbruch, Krieg und Surrealismus in Ägypten (1938 – 1948), Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, with a contribution by Doris Krystof, Skira Editore Milan, 2016, 224 pages, ISBN 978-2-37074-048-9
  • Spanish Edition – Art et Liberté: Ruptura, Guerra y Surrealismo en Egipto (1938 – 1948), Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Skira Editore Milan, 2016, 224 pages, ISBN 978-2-37074-049-6

Ways of Seeing

Published in conjunction with the traveling exhibition under the same title at ARTER – Space of Art, Istanbul, and the Villa Empain, Boghossian Foundation in Brussels, this catalogue features a comprehensive academic essay by the curators providing in-depth analysis of the main curatorial strands within the exhibition. In addition, it features two scholarly contributions by Dr. Mary Acton, author of the best-selling How to Look at Paintings, and Dr. Stephanie Moser, Head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Southampton and author of Wondrous Curiosities. Further to the exhibition, the catalogue provides a thorough investigation into the act of looking within various art-historical and museological contexts.

  • English/Turkish Edition:
    Görme Biçimleri/Ways of Seeing
    Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, and Süreyya Evren, with contributions by Mary Acton, Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, and Stephanie Moser
    ARTER Publications, 2017, 150 pages, ISBN: 978-6059606066
  • English/French/Flemish Edition
    Ways of Seeing
    Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath with contributions by Mary Acton, Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, and Stephanie Moser
    Boghossian Foundation Publications, 2017, 170 pages, ISBN: 978-2960191462


Published in conjunction with the exhibition under the same title, which took place in three venues across the city of Jeddah, this catalogue features a comprehensive curatorial text by providing the reader with a tour across the various curatorial threads of the exhibition. It also features an interview with six emerging Saudi artists, along with images of 16 new commissions that were specifically created for the respective exhibition.


When Process Becomes Form:
Danseakhwa and Korean Abstraction

Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

This fully illustrated catalogue is published in conjunction with the first comprehensive exhibition in Belgium of a generation of loosely affiliated Korean artists whose negotiation of abstraction has become known as Dansaekhwa. It features seminal paintings and works on paper ranging from the 1960s until the 1980s by some of Danseakhwa’s leading figures such as Chung Chang-Sup (1927 - 2011), Chung Sang-Hwa (b. 1932), Ha Chong-Hyun (b. 1935), Kim Whanki (1913 - 1974), Kwon Young-Woo (1926 - 2013), Lee Ufan (b. 1936), and Park Seo-Bo (b. 1931). A comprehensive art-historical text by the exhibition curators along with a detailed and illustrated timeline, make this publication a must-go-to for anyone interested in the history of Danseakhwa and Korean Modern art at large.

  • English / French / Flemish trilingual edition: Villa Empain, the Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium, 2016, 144 pages

Staging Film:
the relation of image and space in video art

Edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

Published in conjunction with the exhibition under the same title at the Busan Museum of Art, this catalogue explores how over the past two decades video artists have been subverting the technical and formal characteristics of video art and expanding the viewer's experience of form, time and space. Through a comprehensive curatorial text, and installation shots from the exhibition’s 12 video installations by some of today’s leading video artists, the catalogue sheds light on the multiplicity of approaches through which artists have been reconsidering the relation between space and image in conceiving film as installation art.

  • English / Korean bilingual edition: Busan Museum of Art, Busan, South Korea, 2016, 200 pages.

Paul Guiragossian:
Artist Monograph (working title)

The first comprehensive monograph of this pioneering modernist artist will shed light on the larger art-historical importance of this pivotal artistic figure from the Middle East. Co-published with the Paul Guiragossian Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon.

  • English edition, Silvana Editore, Milan, Italy, 2016, ca. 300 pages (forthcoming)

Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring: Conversations with Artists form the Arab World

In-depth moderated conversations that shed light on the diverse lives of 10 well-established midcareer artists (Manal Aldowayan, Ghada Amer, Lara Baladi, Wafaa Bilal, Mouir Fatmi, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Khalil Rabah, Zineb Sedira, Hassan Sharif, Akram Zaatari).

  • English edition, Skira Editore, Milan, Italy, 2015, 144 pages, ISBN: 978-8857214849

Mona Hatoum: Turbulence

A comprehensive publication accompanying the exhibition under the same title at Mathaf, Doha, Qatar in 2014, that illustrates and discusses over 70 of Mona Hatoum’s works spanning a period of three decades.

  • English / Arabic bilingual edition: Silvana Editore, Milan, Italy, 2014, 200 pages, ISBN: 978-8836628117

Songs of Loss and Songs of Love:
Oum Kulthoum and Lee Nan-young

Published in conjunction with the exhibition under the same title at the Gwangju Museum of Art. Includes a comprehensive curatorial essay on the fictitious encounter of these two seminal singers, and the relation between the artworks that comprise the exhibition. Contains a large selection of installation shots.


Overcoming the Modern: Dansaekhwa, The Korean Monochrome Movement

An illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition under the same title with an extended essay on the local and international ramifications and art-historical negotiations of this movement.


Tea with Nefertiti: The Making of the Artwork by the Artist, The Museum and the Public

Published in 4 editions, and a total of 6 languages, the book contains new field research on Egyptian modernism, as well as the curatorial contributions accompanying the international touring exhibition. A particular emphasis lies on the exploration of the creation of cultural images of Egypt through the arts over the past 2000 years, and it’s pivotal moment at the onset of colonialism and the creation of Egyptian museums in Europe. The German / English edition published in 2014 by Skira contains an additional chapter in the form of a conversation moderated by Tate Modern director Chris Dercon.

  • German / English bilingual edition: Skira Editore Milan, Italy, 2014, 250 pages, ISBN: 978-8857224329
  • Spanish / Valencian bilingual edition: IVAM, Valencia, 2013, 170 pages, Online publication
  • French / Arabic bilingual edition: Skira Editore Milan, Italy, Paris, 2012, 250 pages, ISBN: 978-8857216294
  • English / Arabic bilingual edition: Bloomsbury, London, 2012, 250 pages, ISBN: 978-9992195642

Paul Guiragossian: The Human Condition

An in-depth illustrated inquiry into the life and work of artist, philosopher, writer and educator Paul Guiragossian (1925 – 1993) accompanying the exhibition under the same title and marking the 20th anniversary of his death.

  • English edition, Paul Guiragossian Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon, 2013, 127 pages, ISBN: 978-0615917689

Rock Paper Scissors

An illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition under the same title with a curatorial text highlighting the conceptual premise and correlation between the artworks that are laid out along three sections within the exhibition.


Told Untold Retold:
23 Stories of Journeys through Time and Space

Published in conjunction with the exhibition bearing the same title, this book features the process leading up to 23 works specially commissioned by Mathaf from artists with roots in the Arab world. The curators’ texts highlight a diversity of cultural and aesthetic references resulting from a process of constant migration across geographical and cultural boundaries, giving rise to a new art-theory notion of "transmodernity."

  • English / Arabic bilingual edition, Skira Editore, Milan, Italy, 2011, 260 pages, ISBN: 978-8857208190

Lee Bae: The Conceptual Formalist

A fully-illustrated catalogue marking the Paris-based, Korean born artist’s show in New York. Includes a curatorial essay about the various aspects behind the artist’s formal development.

  • English edition, Nicholas Robinson Gallery, New York, USA, 2011, 48 pages

Iran Inside Out: Influences of Homeland and Diaspora on the Artistic Language of 56 Contemporary Iranian Artists

This publication features 35 artists living and working in Iran alongside 21 others living in the Diaspora. The result is a multifarious portrait of 56 contemporary Iranian artists challenging the conventional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art. In addition to a curatorial introduction and comprehnsive artist statements, the book includes a chapter by Sotheby’s Institute’s Dr. Anthony Downey on the de-centralization of artistic centres.


ItaliaArabia: Artistic Convergences between Italy and Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iran

This fully-illustrated book features more than a 100 artworks by mid-twentieth century Italian and Middle Eastern artists, revealing the multilayered nature of exchange that both cultures historically had on each other. Includes an additional section on manuscripts, textiles, musical instruments, and cartographic documents spanning an entire millennium of Italian, Ottoman, Safavid and Qajar cultural traditions, creating a historical frame of reference for the visual and thematic convergences of the twentieth century.

Contributions (Selection)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige – between the image and the gaze

Common Grounds Villa Stuck exhibition catalogue, Edited by Michael Buhrs and Verena Hein

  • German / English bilingual edition, Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2015, ISBN: 978-3-7757-3967-2

Skin & Surface (Korean Monochrome Painting)

  • Frieze Magazine, issue 160, March 2015, p. 144 Download PDF

Ni ici ni Là-bas: Mahmoud Moukhtar et Georges Sabbagh

An academic paper exploring the implications of the nationalist and colonial contexts surrounding two seminal modern artists living and working between Cairo and Paris during the early decades of the 20th century.

  • Qantara 87, L’Égypte en son miroir, pp. 34 – 37, Spring 2013 Download PDF

Dirty Dark Loud and Hysteric: The London and Paris Surrealist Exhibitions of the 1930s and the Exhibition Practices of the Art and Liberty Group in Cairo

Building on first-to-be-published archival materials and primary documents, this academic paper illustrates how the Art and Liberty Group negotiated and adapted non-conformist exhibition design and display methods from their Surrealist counterparts in Paris and London, to instigate a rupture within their immediate cultural and political landscape.

  • Dada/Surrealism Academic Journal, Vol 19, n. pag. Web., 2013, University of Iowa Download PDF

Degenerate Art, Nevertheless: On the Art of Abdulnasser Gharem

Edge of Arabia: Collecting Art from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, edited by Edward Booth-Clibborn, Stephen Stapleton, Abdullah Al-Turki.

  • English edition, Booth-Clibborn, London, 2012, pp. 120-123, ISBN: 978 - 1861543233

When Things Come Full Circle

  • Nabil Nahas: Palms and Stars. Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2011, pp. 2–5 Download PDF

The Blurring of Boundaries: Two Decades of Deconstruction and Reinvention in the Life and Work of Shoja Azari

  • Shoja Azari: Icons, edited by Hamid Dabashi. LTMH, New York, 2009, pp. 13-18 Download PDF

When Art Provokes You, Just Blame It on Iran

  • Flashart, Curator’s Column, May/June 2012 Download PDF

Push and Pull: Adel Abidin

  • Canvas, March/April 2012

Between the Palace and the Street: Mahmoud Mukhtar and the Fate of Egyptian Art Today

  • Artinfo, 24 March 2011, republished in the Huffington Post, 29 March 2011 Download PDF

On Bad Art, a Good Cause and the Perils of Being Poked on Facebook

  • Flashart, Curator’s Column, January/February 2012 Download PDF

On Underwear Makers and Popes with a Healthy Libido

  • Flashart, Curator’s Column, November/December 2011 Download PDF

On Censorship

  • Flashart, Curator’s Column, July/August 2011 Download PDF