Youssef Nabil: The Beautiful Voyage

22 September - 28 October 2022

The Third Line is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist Youssef Nabil. The Beautiful Voyage presents a curated selection of recent works including photographs of cinematic landscapes and imaginary self-portraits, as well as the regional debut of Nabil’s fourth video, also called The Beautiful Voyage.


Youssef Nabil (b. Egypt, 1972) draws inspiration from the concept of memory and the cinematic universe he grew up admiring in his native country of Egypt. His works’ ethereal aesthetics take from the hand colouring photography technique of the technicolour films. The artist hand-paints each of his black and white photographs, as editions become variations, each a unique version of the artist’s labour. 


Taking inspiration from the poem Ithaka (1911) by Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933), this exhibition explores themes of exile, fate and memory through self-portraits and images of melancholic landscapes, as well as Nabil’s fourth video The Beautiful Voyage (2021). 


The Beautiful Voyage (2021) features his muse, the actress Charlotte Rampling. It is the first time the artist both directs and appears in front of the camera as an actor. It is profoundly intimate, as the voice of the artist’s Mother recites Ithaka (1911) – a verse that she read to him as a boy growing up in Cairo and the very poem that inspired this body of work – over scenes of love, life, memory, death and exile. “The verses sing of the importance of life’s journey rather than of its end and set a hopeful tone. The poem is especially poignant since it evokes Nabil’s childhood – a joyful and nostalgic memory of a lost time” observes Dr. Layla S. Diba.


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