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  • Youssef Nabil, You Never Left #III, 2010.

  • Youssef Nabil, Self Portrait, Essaouira, 2011.

  • Youssef Nabil, Charlotte Rampling, Paris, 2011.


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The cinematic, hand colored photographs of Youssef Nabil

Youssef Nabil, one of the most celebrated Arabian artists of all times, invites us to discover his cinematic universe, as documented in his latest self-titled book, published by Flammarion (2013). This is the third monograph dedicated to the artist that began photographing his friends in poses that were recreating famous film scenes from the golden age of Egyptian scene, back in 1992, and hasn’t stopped ever since interpreting the amalgam of eastern and western culture. Nabil became famous for his personal style that consists in taking pictures in black and white which are then printed deliberately light and are hand colored, using watercolor and pencil tints. After working with David LaChapelle, who he met in Cairo, and with Mario Testino in Paris, Nabil moved to New York, where he still lives and works. His evocative, melancholic pictures deal with existential issues like eroticism and death, the search for one’s identity, loneliness as opposed to fame, wistfulness and location, and reflect with certain nostalgia his dislocated life away from Egypt.

The Flammarion book features a wide selection of Nabil’s self-portraits, where he is depicted “between worldly realities and serene dreams” in Alexandria, Istanbul, Cairo, Paris, Marseille or Los Angeles, and various stills from his first short film, titled “You never left” (2010), with French actors Fanny Ardant and Tahar Rahim. It also features his famous portraits of artists Tracey Emin, Gilbert and George, Nan Goldin, Marina Abramović, Louise Bourgeois and Shirin Neshat, singers Alicia Keys, Sting and Natacha Atlas, as well as actors Omar Sharif, Faten Hamama, Rossy de Palma, Charlotte Rampling, Isabelle Huppert, and Catherine Deneuve. Nabil’s monograph also includes a critical essay by Hans Ulrich Obrist and an interview with Marina Abramovic, which aim to offer a glimpse at the creative view and 22-year trajectory of the ever-inspiring Cairo born artist.