Susan Hefuna, ‘Cityscape Munich’, 2015, Whitechapel Gallery

Susan Hefuna’s edition for Whitechapel Gallery is one in a series of ‘Cityscapes’, made previously in Istanbul and New York. Cityscape Munich, 2015 is an etching made by the artist in Munich and, for Hefuna, is a direct response to her surroundings. She describes arriving at Munich train station at a time when the station was crowded with Syrian refugees and children entering Germany from Austria. The colour blue is significant for it is found all over Munich, as the colour of Bavaria. For Hefuna it is important that the print is composed with the same directness as her drawings. Instead of the image deriving from an existing sketch, the artist has drawn directly onto two etching plates in two layers, which are then printed. This process, for Hefuna, captures the ‘freshness of the moment’.

Signature: Signed and numbered

Image rights: Copyright Whitechapel Gallery

About Susan Hefuna

Many of Susan Hefuna’s multimedia works explore her experience navigating the discordant parts of her heritage—German and Egyptian, Christian and Muslim. Hefuna’s photographs, videos, sculptures, installations, and drawings explore the rifts between cultural codes and perceptions of them, towards larger themes of identity and social politics. In 2001, she produced a series of self-portraits, cityscapes, interiors, and portraits of her family, sometimes including images of Mashrabiyas—latticed windows Hefuna encountered in Egyptian cities that allow one to observe without being seen. Between 2004 and 2010, Hefuna designed a number of Mashrabiyas herself, incorporating phrases in English and Arabic, and commissioned artisans to produce them. Hefuna is also known for her drawing, which she considers the backbone of her diverse practice.

Egyptian-German, b. 1962, Germany, based in Cairo; Dusseldorf, Germany; New York City