In the artist’s second show in our Hamburg space, Anna Boghiguian creates a theatrical setting weaving through the gallery. A painted sail, a derelict boat, political figures, soldiers and slaves are all part of an elaborate spectacle of motifs created by Boghiguian. From afar the installation gives an intense look at a harsh political reality, but upon close inspection, the details in the work delve into individual topics of global commerce, slavery, colonialism, conflicts and wars, while emphasizing their associated injustices towards people. Leaping across the historical timeline from early colonialism to World War II to modern day right wing populism, Boghiguian illustrates a rich historical narrative that draws parallels between the past and present. Finely crafted discourses combined with historical facts paint a critical artistic investigation of the subjects.


Read like a book, Boghiguian sequences her drawings, collages and paintings, giving the narrative a direction. From thick paper, she cuts freestanding paper figures that blur the line between the two-dimensional and the sculptural. The procession of people that portrays the oppression of those suffering from aggression and greed, takes the viewer on intense yet sensitive journey through time. This people’s march leads through the second floor where an installation of found items such as the sail, boat or natural elements such as shells and honeycombs completes this intricate tableau, paired with Boghiguian’s personal writing, sprawled across the walls, canvases, and paper.


Within the installation, we see common motifs present throughout Boghiguian’s practice. She paints brains, symbolic of the complexity of thought, sensuality, and emotions. She combines the brain imagery with the receptive parts of the body such as eyes, ears and mouth, our main modes of communication, putting beginnings and ends to life’s narratives. The brain is very integral to the artist’s work, as it is perceived as the labyrinth that must be explored to further understand human nature, its motivations, vices, and reasoning. The artist questions interpersonal relationships and their consequences through this exploration. In her work she denounces oppression, aggression, extremism in both past and present contexts. The artist's critical approach is accentuated by her expressive style, at the same time revitalized by her poetic nature.


Anna Boghiguian was born in 1946 in Cairo, Egypt. She studied political science at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and Arts and Music at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. In September of this year, her extensive solo exhibition opened in Castello di Rivoli. Beginning of 2017 she had a solo show in INDEX - The Swedish Contemorary Art Fondation and 2016 in Carré d'Art in Nimes. In recent years, her works have been part of numerous international group exhibitions, including Centro dos de Mayo, Madrid (2016), Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2015), the Armenian Pavillion at the Venice Biennial (2015), Istanbul Biennial (2015), New Museum, New York (2014), Sao Paolo Biennial (2014) and Documenta 13, Kassel (2012). Her works are part of important international collections as MoMA, New York; Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, The Art Institute of Chicago; Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Torino, among others.


The People's People, 2017, exhibition views Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg


Cutouts, 2016/2017, pencil, paint and encaustic on paper, various dimensions


Boat, Alligator and Mickey Mouse watching the world passing by, 2017, wood, sand, shells, papier maché, aluminium, various dimensions


Sail,2017, sail, six birds, paint, cotton, plaster, wax, mule, various dimensions


Woven Winds / The making of an economy - costly commodities, 2016, pencil, watercolor, ink and gouche on paper, 18 pieces, 30 x 21 cm, each


The People's People, 2017, exhibition views Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg


In the world: East and West, North and South I/II/III, 2017, paint, paper, wood, metal, glas, 15 beehive frames, 206 x 129,5 x 66 cm


Brains, mixed media on canvas, various dimensions


The People's People, 2017, exhibition view Galerie Sfeir-Semler Hamburg


Cutouts, 2017, paint and encaustic on paper, various dimensions