The Makeshift Body: Mandy El-Sayegh
Executed in a range of media, including densely layered painting, sculpture, installation, sound, video and performance, this is the first monograph on the work of contemporary artist Mandy El-Sayegh. This book includes critical essays, conversations with the artist, and photography documenting her exhibitions, performances and studio processes.
El-Sayegh likens her exploratory, observational process to the occurrence of contemporary social and political events, which unfold in highly chaotic and often disturbing ways. Justifications or explanations typically appear after the fact, devised to impose order on an inherently subjective and incomplete set of social, cultural and political processes. Through her work, she aims to remove the veil of these superimposed structures and reveal the intricacies of growth and decay as they happen in real time.
Elements such as found fragments, pages of the Financial Times and imagery from advertisements, social media, medical textbooks and pornography, as well as collected doodles and Arabic calligraphy from her father’s home in London, are combined as collage. El-Sayegh then asserts her own perspective by drawing directly on top of them, creating double meanings and calling into question our assumptions and understanding of typically unquestioned systems. Her art is preoccupied with the attempt to symbolically create a coherent “body” from disparate parts, a repeated exercise that ultimately reveals its own impossibility.
Revealing a fascinating, multifaceted art practice in until now unseen detail, The Makeshift Body is a visually rich publication that includes critical essays on El-Sayegh’s work, conversations with the artist, and photography documenting her exhibitions, performances and studio processes. In addition, a new visual essay created by El-Sayegh draws from the archive of raw materials that inform her myriad works.