For her first solo exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac in London, Mandy El-Sayegh transforms the spaces of the gallery. She intervenes with the walls and floors to create an enveloping environment within which ideas of bodily, psychological and spatial interiors play out. Featuring new large-scale paintings, sculptures and installations, as well as a collaborative performance, the exhibition layers diverse materials and modes of artmaking, referencing sensorial experiences and processes of accumulation.
Covering the interior of the gallery space, one installation takes inspiration from the consulting room of the renowned neurologist Sigmund Freud. Designed by Freud to be a portable interior, the contents of the room were precisely recorded so they could be restaged in a new location following the psychoanalyst’s exile from Vienna. El-Sayegh assembles objects that reference the consulting room, including Persian rugs and antique examination couches. Presented alongside walls covered with her unstretched paintings, she establishes connections between the interior spaces of Freud’s room and the installation, psychological interiorities and her own studio.
Elsewhere in the gallery, another installation builds upon Mandy’s White Grounds series in which layered imagery of maps and detritus from the artist’s studio are partially concealed beneath white gesso. Skin-like latex curtains, suspended from the ceiling of the corridor leading to the gallery, draw on the artist’s enduring interest in the fragmented body, intersecting her investigation of psychological experience with ideas of embodiment and bodily disintegration.
This is the experience of being a body-in-pieces, a history-in-pieces — Mandy El-Sayegh