The Magic of the State, is Lisson Gallery’s up and coming exhibition and editorial project conceived in collaboration with Beirut, a new art initiative and exhibition space in Cairo.Curated by Silvia Sgualdini of Lisson Gallery, in conjunction with Jens Maier-Rothe and Sarah Rifky, co-directors of Beirut, the project defines an ambitious platform for artistic exchange by bringing a number of international artists to Cairo for the first time. It also presents an innovative model of collaboration between an independent space and commercial gallery, highlighting the different social and political contexts in which the two organizations operate.
The project is structured as two discrete yet interconnected exhibitions, opening first in Cairo and then London. Different works by the same group of artists will be presented, including new commissions, performances and discursive platforms. The project will be accompanied by a publication featuring critical texts and artists contributions in English and Arabic.
The Magic of the State takes its name from the book of the same title by anthropologist Michael Taussig. In this text, Taussig conceives the modern State as configured through a theatre of spirit possession into the living body of society. Historically placed at the intersection of science, religion and politics, magic in its broadest sense is addressed within the context of the project: both secular magic and its connection to propaganda and mysticism with its claim to access supernatural entities and powers.
Credit: Christodoulos Panayiotou, The Invention Of Antiquity, 2012. Courtesy the Artist and Lisson Gallery.