Sunday, 16.11.2014 -
Saturday, 29.11.2014


Exkursion / Performance / Recherche
Egyptian Secrets, or Pawel investigates the after life of James Lee Byars
Pawel Kruk

During his two week stay in Cairo, Pawel Kruk restages The Ghost of James Lee Byars, the artist’s seminal 1969 work: a completely lightless environment. First installed in Düsseldorf, it consists of an empty, pitch-black room. The work has since been recreated in several group exhibitions, each providing the darkness with a different reading based on the context in which it’s displayed. For his project, Kruk presents The Ghost of James Lee Byars in a hotel room at the Mena House Hotel (1) where the artist died in 1997.

In his project, Pawel Kruk intends to explore the tension between what we know and what we do not know; between the visible and invisible knowledge. He’s interested in the mechanisms that created the myth of James Lee Byars as well as in the aftermath of his death. Approaching Cairo as if it was Byars’ crypt, he aims at locating and interviewing people the late American artist met or worked with while living in Cairo before his death. He also hopes to create a temporary archive assembled of objects and memories that indicate Byars' presence in Cairo. The results of his research, some physical and some ephemeral, in its work-in-progress stage, will be presented during a performance hosted by Beirut (2) in Cairo. By restaging The Ghost of James Lee Byars and by presenting the results of his research, Kruk hopes to give the local audience and himself some context of what remains of Byars in Cairo. From 29th to 30iest November Pawel will do a Performance in Cairo. Get more information here.

1. Mena House is one of the most unique hotels in Cairo, a place with a rich and colorful history. Surrounded by 40 acres of lush green gardens, the hotel is located in the shadow of the Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo. Mena House played host to kings and emperors, Heads of State and celebrities. For Pawel, Mena House is mainly a place where James Lee Byars died of cancer in 1997.

2. Beirut is a new initiative and space for art in Cairo, founded in May 2012 by Sarah Rifky and Jens Maier-Rothe. Beirut’s activities are centered around hosting artists, artworks, research projects and other institutions (locally, regionally, internationally) that wish to engage with similar questions we share concerning politics, economy, education, ecology and the arts.

Posted by Stefan Wagner