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Khaled Hafez (Egyptian, b. 1963)
Khaled Hafez (Egyptian, b. 1963)

Tomb Sonata in Three Military Movements II

Khaled Hafez (Egyptian, b. 1963)
Tomb Sonata in Three Military Movements II
paper collage, burlap and acrylic on canvas
177 1/8 x 78¾in. (200 x 450cm.)
Executed in 2010
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
Cairo, XII Cairo Biennale, December 2010.
London, Mica Gallery, From Facebook to Nassbook, July-September 2011. This exhibition later travelled to Frankfurt, Semmel Concerts, January 2012.
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Please note that the dimensions in cm. should read (200 x 450cm.).

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Lot Essay

Painted in 2010, Tomb Sonata in Three Military Movements II is among a body of work by the artist Khaled Hafez that is considered as a premonition to the impending 2011 uprising/revolution that shook Cairo six weeks after the completion of the work. Since 2005, Hafez has used media-propagated imagery, which evolved in 2009, as an attempt by the artist to create a new form of hieroglyph-like type-set/font based on media-propagated military iconography.

In 2010, for one of his largest projects to date, Hafez was commissioned to create the present work for the Cairo Biennale. This further entailed the construction of a tomb with three chambers; in the first chamber the artist showed two large scale paintings, Tomb Sonata in Three Military Movements I & II, in almost total darkness lit only by ultraviolet black light. The work was described by the critics in the media as premonitory because for the first time in his practice, large life-size snipers and military infantry soldiers occupied a significant part of the canvas and throughout Egyptian's Modern history, no snipers have appeared in the public sphere and the military presence was almost kept away from cities. Hafez claims no knowledge of precise signs of a premonitory nature that would make him use such timely iconography, though this happened several times with his video works Revolution (2006), Visions of Contaminated Memories (2007) and The A77A Project (2009), which today are considered as works that predicted impending change.

In Tomb Sonata in Three Military Movements II as well as for the best part of his painting practice, Hafez steps away from the Post-Renaissance laws of Western painting and moves closer to the more ancient practice of specifically arranging each of his elements to enforce his narrative. For that he adopts the Ancient Egyptian characteristics and techniques which utilises flatness and graphics while
making all forms within the narrative move from one side of the canvas to the other.

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