Ezz Monem is a photographic artist working with critical representations of place and people through analogue, digital and found imagery. Originally from Egypt and now based in Naarm/Melbourne, his enticing work often discusses image making and migration. His striking precision makes him a collectible artist, with private and public collections acquiring his work—such as Braunschweig museum of photography, Germany and The Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt. He is also a studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary and is represented by THIS IS NO FANTASY.
Monem uses many strategies to engage with images and see their mechanisms, ranging from rephotographing pictures to appropriating scenes from cinema. The artist explains that his body of work In Search of Mohamed gathers films“that involve the use of the name Mohamed, then rearrange, manipulate and build an archive (photographic/ moving image) that highlights the ghostly boundaries of representation.” He takes as a departure point his first name ‘Mohamed’ to test the limits of representation and display scenes, objects, and photographs that manifest this presence without directly showing his image.
“In this long term project, I try to explore the tension between reverence and the profane by building a photographic and video archive based on specific criteria that involves the use of the name Mohamed, appropriated from films I grew up watching in Egypt, or recent Middle Eastern films I encountered during my research.”
The multichannel video work InSearch Of Mohamed (2021) is a striking example of this area of inquiry, for it demonstrates how cinema has resolved this problem of absence. The work appropriates scenes from movies that show an invisible body opening and closing doors. It also includes point of view footage of Mohamed crossing the desert with a walking cane. Monem emphasises how the cane becomes a device for representation by casting it in bronze and displaying it upright like a standing body.