Moving out of the frame
Dr. Amal Nasr
Abd El –Salam Eid began, since the early seventies, to launch a group of significant works
that have not only been a landmark in his artistic career, but also in the history of the
contemporary Egyptian plastic art movement. He introduced an explicit challenge to the
language of that safely dwelled picture in its frame. In tranquility, the frame with its golden decorations,,
embraces the work, isolating it from an irritating and confused surrounding, to became a
harmonious rectangle, that offers a quiet optical delight, where the lay viewer can submit himself. In
this way, the artwork does not need an effort, to be understood, as it represents a well-known and
anticipated concept to the viewer.
Eid is blowing up that frame in an indicative revolt that suggests repudiation of the” status quo” in
painting, and a new outset. He starts by compressing the frame and reforming it. In itself, the frame
turns to a figure within the artwork. Then Eid starts to re-frame objects that would not be impossible
to be isolated from their usual roles, in our daily experience, to play a new role in the world of possible,
which the philosophy has presented-, an issue that occupied the Artist for long, He constructs
a single element within his Artwork. That element would possess all presence and domination -one
single radiating element that represents the center and pivot of the work, among a group that carries
the same attribute. As an example a huge ostrich’s egg, turtle shell. A huge garden’s scissor,
carpet’s duster, cow horn…etc
We can read the presence of these elements on two levels; symbolic, formal levels. The egg could
be a symbol for fertility, the renovation of life, and anticipation, but the artist may has been also seduced,
by the form of the egg, its radiant and lucid color, and its subtle sculptural mass, particularly
when it stands against a dark natural cork back ground, with its rocky texture. The turtle shell may
point to an enigmatic face that has not yet revealed its features and what is lying behind it.. As if,
a secret that is not yet born. Yet the Artist admired that physical form in its peculiar constructive
canon. The scissor may be a sign of protest, a desire for change, but it also possesses a peculiar
sculptural form that imparts upon the area an atmosphere of tension and alertness. Likewise, his
use of the duster may be a symbol of the admit ion of remises into the artwork. However, the working
of the Artist in its handle is an announcement for his capacities to mobilize invariables. Even
upon the level of form, he is capable of reforming the element into the symbol of infinity. This emphasizes
the closed structure of the element’s constituents.
In some of these artworks, the frame may looks tight for these entities. So it may lay a heavy siege
around them. Sometimes the Artist needs to intensify certain meaning or a specific symbol. Like
that painting in which he introduced an animal’s horn at the composition’s foreground. He wants to
emphasize the flippancy and harshness of that element. When it comes out like a pricking tool, we
should know that the Artists intend to move the sluggish and the unshakable in our life. An intense
forewarning for that submissive viewer’s eye. Out of the frame, figures may rebelliously come out…!!
Abd El-Salam Eid is devoting new assigned role for the frame within the work, in one of his most
important creative experimental endeavors.
the Artist has found his long sought goal in old tissues, handmade embroidered tablecloth,
fishing nets, popular rugs, and females gown in Upper Egypt. When immersed in various adhesives,
that turn to easily shaped pastes. He looks attentively to their variables; their aspects … Textile
threads in their spontaneity and interlacement have given him endless plastic capabilities. They also
gave him an impression about the complexities and paradoxes of modern cities, which can draw
him to bigger complexities of contemporary world. The latter would send out their echoes in our
interpretative minds. In addition, the Artist interferes to steer the weave threads, with their touching
influences, and slender cells, to present artistic structures of varied figures.
From these immersed pastes in adhesive media, Eid is creating his relieved pictorial, sculpted surfaces.
He emphasizes his planes when he deals with dark color’s layers, thus emphasizing light on
higher layers. He exploits the weave like the ropes later on. For textiles, Eid revised various colors,
sometimes aged, other times he used misty or spectral colors. Recently, he has used glaring colors
trying to find out how he can make, out of them, that sort of sculpted painting. For this, he is making
knots, twists, after heaping up the cloth.
The refined structure of the embroidered threads, the narrow weave of the cloth stitches allowed
him to see a vast domain of probabilities, that could be intensified and knotted in several twists ,
pursuing what can the light offers as an illuminating slender, or dark shadowy lines. He may spread
out his textiles, turning them into flat surfaces that end at an elusive horizon, and then the Artist
establish behind that, cloudy or scattered stumps. In addition, he may handle the stacks of cloth
with color touches, at selected spots. These touches of colors will vary between illuminating white
that cast on the edges their roundness, and transparent mantillas, which saturate the multi layers
weave. The Artist is managing its lead and lag according to dues of composition. He is investing the
relation between the protruded solid, in the processed part of the painting, and the flat area in the
remained space, particularly when it turns to an endless one.
Sometimes the Artists mold the texture in a high wall that overlooking a mysterious nebula, which
reflects the artist’s occupation with the invisible. Sometimes he makes from these textiles, an elusive
horizon with that reveals behind distant realms. Cloth may be converted into a spontaneous
intense structure, and suddenly we witness the emergence of an architectural, pyramidal, or circular
shape. That entities would seem as if incarnating out of time and out of organic feel of the weave.
In addition, the cloth would turn to petrified strata that have an archeological character. All that
would emphasize the potentials of plastic Art as a bearer of the Artist’s concepts and bewilderment
towards the world… towards the life’s experimentation and man’s vain attempts to interpretation.
The Artist molds his weaves, with all its angular and twisted shapes. He blends its vast textures.
With dexterity, he reforms them as if they are sculptural clay, through which he creates realms that
vanish in extinction, another that are just emerging,.. old edifices and rivers…a flood of seas and
waves, ferocious wave that turns the world upside down, leaving a bottom that is crammed with
objects and sediments, and depleting with the remains of life and mankind. Several excavations
with which the Artist anticipates time, in an attempt to detect what aftermaths we would leave for
For Eid, it is intoxication when he makes contact with the Absolute and breaks the time’s barriers.
Often, Eid summons the circle, by which he inlays the core of his composition. Sometimes it turns
to magic crystal through which the Artist he may detect a supernatural world. We are all aspiring at
seeing some of these illusions. circle that turns into an eye gazing at us, a window, through which
we can overlook, a wheel, a strange Tatum, signs, royal slogans, circles with ornaments from ancient
civilizations, or a globe( terrestrial).
During the stage of molded weave with adhesives, the frame adopts different presences. It hides
and disappears under texture’s structure to be embodied in the painting, wrapped by the cloth, or
partially covered with pastes, thus the Artist can make use of these protrusions in a contrasting,
geometrical forms that equalize the spontaneity, organic and emotional synthesis of the texture.
Eid is liberating the frame with its usual proportions. We witness ellipses, circular and non-uniform
shapes. Sometimes he approves the idea of a frame within a frame. Certainly, these new aspects
for the painting plane, would permit new concepts for surfaces, where it is impossible to be realized
through the usual transverse cut downs. In almost his artwork, Eid is always leaving areas for
imagination in order to fit special suggested solutions of the space.
In other Artworks, the frame disappears under a previously manipulated cover, which is replanting
with unfinished, mysterious, and suggestive items. Eid considers finished items as barriers for the
But our Artist always leaves a scuttles for light amid darkness, that overlooks another distant, pursued
realm, particularly when he establish his rocky caves from that solidified and accumulated,
and rough weaves. And there he opens a skylight of Hope, Good, and peace, that should not be
forgotten, as the Artist says, amid the sullenness and complexities of contemporary life.
All o a sudden, these realms are being retracted, to be concentrated in huge fortified frames, which
are replanting with objects, textures, and colors, but leaving a limped space except of colored ethereal
spectral traces. They are series of creations called the “horizon group”, where Eid shifts all the
city preoccupations, its noise, its jam and stirring accumulation, towards the frame, and only letting
an emerging horizon from the core of composition. It is a call, amid that entire clamor, for contemplation
of the horizon, in a moment outside time… and there… everyone may draw what he is aspiring
at in his own horizon. There …we can move from salient volumes, collages and installations to a
transparent universe and from the clamor of life to misty and mysterious horizons.
In Fact, these artworks imply a unique thought in the history of painting. The frame plays the most
dramatic role in the Artwork. It draws all clamor, distractions, and entanglement that may be accumulated
at the core of composition. However, it is a clamor under a wise control from the Artist.
Who knows how to fuse in a specific domain? Clamor and overwhelming chaos surround encircle
our world, but this does not prohibit seeing a bright spot of purity and dream within us.
Finally, Eid has achieved success when he raised his strange realms, through unusual materials.
When he feels delight to raise these realms, he is in fact obeying an old dream to form a free time
and space that are going along his unrestrained imagination,
Dr. Amal Nasr