Youssef Nabil PortraitsThe Third Line is proud to present a solo exhibition of photographs by the artist Youssef Nabil from May 8 – June 1, 2008 at the newly opened The Third Line in Doha, Qatar. This exhibition is made possible with the support of Deutsche Bank.
Many famous artists have been Nabil’s subject in the following years including Tracey Emin, Natacha Atlas, Paulo Coelho, Nan Goldin, Kate Moss, David Lynch and Louise Bourgeois: each sitter's story being told through Nabil’s black and white photographs which are painstakingly hand coloured with dream-like dewed tones.
At the age of 35, Nabil has established himself as one of the most influential photographers of his generation. Growing up in the cinematic Cairo, Youssef was intoxicated with the golden age of its stars. His works draw inspiration from his childhood memories of black and white films filled with glamour, elegance and melodrama.
Nabil began taking photographs at the early age of 19 while studying literature at the Ain Shams University. His fascination with the glamour and style of early Egyptian cinema and the hand-coloured family portraits that still adorn most living rooms in Cairo led him to the legendary Egyptian-Armenian photographer Van Leo, who is celebrated for his glamorous studio portraits of famous Egyptian actresses of the 1940s and 50s.
“Youssef seems to have a third eye with which he finds the hidden character in a subject and brings it to the surface,” so says Egyptian songstress Natacha Atlas, one of his muses who features seductive and reclined in this exhibition.
Through using the age old technique of hand coloured photographs, Nabil constructs work that is both beautiful and conflicting, inhabiting a sense of the enigmatic.
Alexander Schuetz, Chief Operating Officer Middle East North Africa for Deutsche Bank said “Passion to Perform for Culture and Society, is what drives Deutsche Bank’s commitment to working on behalf of the communities in which we live and work. Our sponsorship of The Third Line, Doha and Youssef Nabil’s exhibition is a concrete manifestation of our commitment to the Middle East’s art scene.”
About Youssef Nabil
Youssef Nabil, born in Cairo, 1972, lives and works in New York.
His work includes inventive studies of famous Egyptian personalities such as famous belly dancer Fifi Abdou, female artists Ghada Amer, singer Natacha Atlas, actress Youssra, controversial crooner Shaaban Abdel Reheim and Nobel Prize winning author Naguib Mahfouz. His international prowess has also enabled him to photograph the likes of British singer Sting, Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho and eccentric filmmaker John Waters to name but a few.
Nabil's work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally at such venues as Les Rencontres Internationales de La Photographie in Arles, The British Museum, London, The Fries Museum, Leewaarden, Michael Stevenson Contemporary Gallery, Cape Town, FotoFest Houston, Texas. Kunst Museum Bonn, Centre De Cultura Contemporanea De Barcelona, Institut Du Monde Arabe, Paris, The Third Line gallery, Dubai, Centro Andaluz De Arte Contemporaneo, Sevilla, The Aperture Foundation, New York City and currently at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, USA. In 2003, he was awarded the Seydou Keita Prize for portraiture at the Biennial of African Photography in Bamako. Nabil also has a BA in French Literature from Ain Shams University, Cairo, which also highlights his love for narrative which is so clearly evident in his photographs.