56th Venice Biennale

Project Overview
Mirror Sonata in Six Animated Movements (For Twelve Hands) is a an animated video project composed of six screens, based on six themes tackled within the painting practice of the project creator, Khaled Hafez. The project was designed for the 56th Venice Biennale Official Collateral curated exhibition In the Eye of the Thunderstorm, curated by Martina Corgnati, and commissioned by Omar Donia and Contemporary Practices Journal.

The project was conceptualized based on a series of conversations that started in Paris in 2011 between the artist Khaled Hafez, and curator/artist Ehab el Laban. Two years later the conversation resumed with a concrete plan for a video installation exhibition with the exact title of the project, where mirrors are installed in the gallery in front of projected screens/walls, and the viewer would pass between the screens and mirror to be engulfed and integrated within the artwork. The show was planned for April 2014 at Ofok gallery, one of the leading spaces directed by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, then postponed several times for administrative reasons. In September 2014, a series of conversations started with art historian and curator Martina Corgnati, through which notions of mirrors and the creation of a temple were tacked and sharpened, based on the seminal work of Jorge Luis Borges, Tlon Uqbar Orbis Tertius, where reality is mixed with metaphysics in the form of the mirror acting as the spy protagonist operating between Iraq and ancient Mesopotamia, a location that is much significant toady for the current terrorist attacks coming from the same geographical location as the one Borges created his fiction. The project was then developed for the 56th Venice Biennale Official Collateral In The Eye Of The Thunderstorm.

Mirror Sonata in Six Animated Movements (For Twelve Hands) is an interdisciplinary project based on painting, video and installation.

For fifteen years I have I have been exploring through painting and film / video works the complex Egyptian identity, that is Ancient Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Judo-Christian and Arabo-Islamic, plus the modern influences of the Mamluk, Ottoman, French and English cultures that left traces on the more modern history.

The project is the fifth and last mega-production project that is a continuation to three previous giant projects that incorporated painting, installation, sound and film/video, namely:

  1. Tomb Sonata in Three Military Movements (and Overture), the project that represented Egypt for the 12th Cairo Biennale 2010. In this project I explored the ideas of the Egyptian brain drain, the body as a tool for expression, the mass fear and the war machine.


  1. Second Sonata for a Tomb in Three Archaeological Movements,the project that was presented at the Institut du Monde ArabeParis, France, in the course of the unique exhibition Twenty Five Years of Arab Creativity, 2012In this project I explored the ideas of language, time, enlightenment, the production and dissemination of knowledge through space and time.
  1. Tomb Sonata in Two Military Movements: the Sequel, the project that was presented at the Havremagasinet Museum, Boden, Sweden, 2012. In this project at the Swedish Museum, I worked on the ideas of confrontation, and history writing.


  1. Sound Sonata on Two Walls Movements, the project that was exhibited at the National Art Museum, Manama, Bahrain in 2013. In this fourth part, I probed the ideas of struggle of wealth and power through new visual alphabets.

In Mirror Sonata in Six Animated Movements, the interdisciplinary project explores the ideas of appearances as an identifier of cultural specificity, cultural pride, the self as maker of past, present and future, the self as creator of melody and movement.

Screen One: Sister Joolia
                                    Julia Roberts is put in veil and made to move legs while observing the kinetic movement on the screen.

                                    The screen explores the notion of appearances as an identifier of cultural specificity.

Screen Two:              Lions & Superheroes (of Red Deserts)
                                    Two elements that feature constantly in the artist’s painting practice symbolize all notion of cultural pride.

Screen Three:            Kinsola’s Morning (& the Tennis Diary)
                                    Old collage paper recall notions of memory and nostalgia. The past intertwines with games of the present.

Screen Four: Apocalyptic Wink (to Me, Myself & I)
                                    An ironic approach to the role of the self in advertising
                                    culture in a world of globalization, present and future.

Screen Five:              Sniper’s Paradise (& my Father’s Old Days)
                                    The screen explores the concepts of games and gaming,ideas of wealth and power struggle.

Screen Six:                History Makers (Taking Pictures for All)
                                    work in progress.
                                    The screen combines several elements as a summary of all the screens.

Project Credits
Curatorial Concept:                 Ehab El Laban

Creative Concept:                   Khaled Hafez
                                            Ehab El Laban
                                            Martina Corgnati

Producer:                                Anubis Production (Khaled Hafez)
                                             Red Crown Foundation

Script & Installation:                Khaled Hafez

Animation:                             Ahmed El Shaer

Original Music:                        Mohamed Saleh

Sound Designer:                     Ahmed Saleh

Editing:                                  Ahmed El Shaer
                                            Khaled Hafez
Made by & Copyrights:                Khaled Hafez