Ghada Amer: Love Has No End
Although she is internationally known for her exquisite abstract canvases embroidered with erotic motifs, Ghada Amer is a multimedia artist whose varied body of work is unified by a continuity of ideological and aesthetic concerns. The submission of women to the tyranny of domestic life, the celebration of female sexuality and pleasure, the incomprehensibility of love, the absurdity of war and violence, and an overall quest for formal beauty constitute the territory that she mines in her art.
Amer was born in Cairo in 1963, moved to France at age eleven, studied fine arts in Nice and Paris, and today lives in New York City. These changes of geography and language are reflected in her artistic output. While the artist’s diverse body of work reflects the differences between her Islamic upbringing and the models of behavior that apply in Western culture, it addresses problems such as the oppression of women that she sees as universal and prevalent in all cultures. Her painting is influenced by the idea of shifting meanings and the appropriation of the languages of abstraction and expressionism—two artistic styles historically associated with Western white male artists. Her prints, drawings, and sculptures question gender stereotypes, her garden designs invoke gardening as a specifically “feminine” activity like embroidery, and her recent installations address the current tumultuous political climate.
Ghada Amer: Love Has No End is organized in a chronological and thematic manner that traces the stages of Amer’s career over the past two decades. The exhibition begins with her earliest sketchbooks, which illustrate the genesis of her ideas about patterning and embroidery. It goes on to present a series of works from the artist’s early “domestic series” depicting women performing daily chores, followed by works examining fairy tales and popular stories that perpetuate gender clichés. A section is devoted to numerous powerful works concerning world politics and recent anti-war pieces. The exhibition concludes with a survey of the artist’s iconic erotic paintings for which she is most famous.
Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art