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It is Magnificent - Egypt’s Pyramids host stunning works of art

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

“Horizon”, by Greek sculptor Costas Varotsos, is a series of metal circles half-filled with glass, arranged in a line. By making it appear as if the pyramids are sitting on water, the work emphasizes the relationship between the monuments and the Nile river on the horizon behind.

CNN — 10/29/23

On the plateau overlooking the ancient Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, a major outdoor art exhibition brings together the work of 14 international contemporary artists who have created site-specific installations responding to the iconic monuments. In one project, a new pyramid structure emerges in wicker; in another, glass sculptures appear to make the ancient pyramids float on water.

“Forever Is Now III” (on until 18 November) is the third edition of an annual exhibition held at the site, and the biggest yet. Organized by Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, the founder and curator of Cairo-based arts firm Art D’Égypte, the event aims to celebrate ancient Egyptian culture through contemporary creativity.

“Every year we have an amazing group of artists that are in dialogue with this civilization,” said Ghaffar over video call from Cairo. Art D’Égypte works with UNESCO to ensure the exhibition leaves the 4500-year-old world heritage site completely unharmed. (A 50cm layer of imported sand is used to place the artworks on, so they don’t even touch the ground.) The works this year engage with the fertile territory of concepts presented by the pyramids, from mythology and spirituality to technical innovation and architecture.

Mexico City-based Argentinian artist Pilar Zeta has created “Mirror Gate”, a limestone portal decorated with gold and iridescent blue spheres and topped by a pyramidal apex, under which lies a checkerboard pathway leading to a mirrored egg on a plinth. “I’ve always been fascinated by the Pyramids of Giza and the entire ancient Egyptian culture — the mysticism around it, the enigmas,” Zeta said. “The pyramids are the most sacred sculptures on planet Earth in my opinion.”

Zeta’s installation, which appears like a surrealist painting and postmodernist film set in one, is rich in layered meaning. The portal represents connections across time, the iridescent blue references the scarab beetle that symbolizes rebirth and regeneration, and the mirrored egg represents the cosmic egg in Egyptian mythology that denotes creation. The artist’s use of materials aims to blend the ancient and modern, with natural limestone reflecting the pyramids’ construction, and painted metal nodding to “our post-industrial society”.

Materials with meaning

A symbolic use of material was also important for Dutch artist-designer Sabine Marcelis, who adopted glass for her sculpture “RA”, a sundial structure named after the ancient Egyptian sun god. “Egypt being the birthplace of both the sundial and glass as material, I wanted to pay homage to those incredible inventions,” Marcelis explained over email. “Even the pyramids themselves were a form of sundial.”....

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