Karim Noureldin

Karim Noureldin

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Having studied at the Zurich University of the Arts (1988-1990) in his native city and then at the Academy of Art and Design in Basel (1990-1994), Karim Noureldin lived in New York for several years before settling back in Switzerland. Attracted by its execution speed and material simplicity, he found his favourite means of expression in drawing.

Noureldin’s drawings are created freehand, sometimes with the help of a ruler, though a totally intuitive approach that has become recognisable, involving the superimposition of hatched lines in pencil, either parallel, crossed, waving or forming concentric circles. Endowing his abstract shapes with texture and depth, Noureldin’s meticulous, time-consuming filling technique differs considerably from uniform colouring.

Having always been interested in architecture and the urban environment, Noureldin primarily sought to create a feeling of space through the trajectory of his lines. Then he was very soon integrating his own drawings into existing spaces, such as in Brooklyn where he covered his studio walls with over a thousand leaves Untitled (1058 drawings), 1994-1997. Whether monumental or in a small format, in situ across facades or on the ground, Noureldin’s creative work merges with the site it inhabits, transforming it with prodigious facility and powerful energy.

While evoking Sol LeWitt’s (1928-2007) wall drawing practice of the late 1960s, Noureldin’s mural paintings present themselves as autonomous structures that explore the relationship between form and content, between architectural and pictorial space, without conforming to any preestablished rule. Infused with intuition and great precision, his lines deliberately bring variation to motifs to avoid any strict symmetry.

MISR brings together dozens of photographs that Karim Noureldin took in Cairo, where he stayed during an artist residency in 2008. Marked by the ubiquity of colour in the Egyptian capital’s streets, Noureldin captured many of the decorative paintings covering storefronts and garage shutters. Selected in blocks of 16 images, they present basic geometric shapes like triangles, circles or stripes on a solid background. The set highlights Noureldin’s penchant for abstract vocabulary, and continues the dialogue begun with his drawn work.

These photographs appeared in the publication MISR Karim Noureldin (2008)—a tribute to the anonymous painters of those urban interventions. Through the many snapshots he takes during his travels, the artist documents real places, thus assembling a large visual repertoire that his own pictorial work echoes.

His first solo exhibition was held at the Kunstmuseum Thun in 2000, and this was followed by many group exhibitions and in situ creations like those at the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (MAMCO) in Geneva in 2005 and at the Centre d’art Contemporain in Yverdon-les-Bains in 2015.

Karim Noureldin lives and works in Lausanne.

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