A brush with… Mandy El-Sayegh

Mandy El-Sayegh talks to Ben Luke about her influences—from writers to film-makers and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life and work. El-Sayegh, born in Selangor, Malaysia, in 1985 and now living in London, makes paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and performances that assemble disparate materials to explore the human body and mind within diverse social, cultural and political contexts. Moving freely and intuitively across these disciplines and media, she creates arresting correspondences between image and text, between the natural and the artificial, and between the senses and the intellect. She discusses growing up with a reproduction of Albrecht Dürer’s Christ on the Cross on the wall, the power of Paul Thek’s diverse work, her love of the South Korean artist Keunmin Lee’s paintings, the poetry of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and the films of David Cronenberg. Plus, she gives insight into life in the studio and answers our usual questions, including the ultimate: “what is art for?”

Mandy El-Sayegh, Interiors, Thaddaeus Ropac, London, 1-30 September; Mandy El-Sayegh: In-Session, Tichy Ocean Foundation, Zurich, until 30 November; the book The Makeshift Body: Mandy El-Sayegh, Black Dog Publishing, published in September, £29.95/$39.95

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