Mona Marzouk was born in Alexandria, Egypt and moved to Helsinki, Finland in 2018. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Düsseldorf, Germany, graduating in 1996. Selected solo exhibitions: Nordic Cultural Point, Helsinki in 2020; The Bride Stripped Bare of her Energy’s Evil, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK in 2008; and The New World, Art in General, New York and Townhouse Gallery, Cairo in 2006. Selected group exhibitions: EVA – International – Ireland’s Biennial, Limerick, Ireland in 2014; 11th Havanna Biennale in 2012; Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria in 2011; and 7. Gwangju Biennale, South Korea in 2008.
Together with Bassam El Baroni (and run in collaboration with artist Mahmoud Khaled and others from the community) Mona Marzouk initiated the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF) as a non-profit art space for contemporary art in late 2005. It was based near downtown Alexandria, Egypt. ACAF programmed workshops, international symposia, group and solo exhibitions, produced projects for young artists based in Egypt, and published free publications. Its focus – over the span of seven years – was engaging young artists with contemporary art and its discourse. ACAF developed projects that balanced a pragmatic engagement with its direct context and a critical discursive approach. Its projects include the publication Fifteen Ways to Leave Badiou (2011) in which fifteen artists were invited to respond artistically to Alain Badiou’s Fifteen theses on contemporary art to Cleotronica (2008), a five-month long media festival of workshops, tutorials, talks, and exhibitions, culminating in a two-day symposium.
ACAF archive on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexandriaContemporaryArtsForumacaf
Once upon a time, a family ruled over a small republic for many generations. Their ruthlessness and hunger for power was insatiable yet their dedication to the advancement of knowledge, art, and science was prolific. Supporting the most prodigious artists and scientists of their time their contribution helped pave the way for the Copernican Revolution yet they committed countless crimes and inspired the world’s most famous treatise on political realism. They survived revolts, coups, and long exiles only to remerge in renewed form as powerful clergy. Their capacity for renewal was commemorated by one of their later members in a new family motto RENOVABITVR inscribed around the image of a wheel with a long nail hammered into the top of its rim. Like a nail stuck into the material of time itself their powerful presence will be felt and their contributions to the advancement of mankind will not go unnoticed. Today they have renewed themselves once again, they are our enemy, they are our patrons, they are the infrastructure through which our data passes and through which we progress, and they are the surveillance technologies that can capture our every move. They are the high-tech labs that are working to rid us of malicious inherited diseases in the future and the financial powers that seek to bind our healthcare to the rules of profit. You will find them in these forms, prepared as ever for renewal.
Mona Marzouk dedicates her artistic work to the construction of hybrid civilizations. With monumental sculptures and murals that are equally subtle and brutalist she fictionalizes the interrelationships between binary concepts such as culture and nature, past and progress, subordination and autonomy. Her paintings generate biomorphic creatures and futuristic spaces that imagine the complex entanglements of individual and social processes and compress this complexity into stripped-down forms. (Invitation text, Villa Romana)