map
the broad

Cairo

Julie Mehretu
2013
ink and acrylic on canvas
120 x 288 in. (304.8 x 731.52 cm)

JULIE MEHRETU

I wanted to look specifically at how you had this very, very different event that took place in the streets.

 

I’m Julie Mehretu. I’m a painter. Artist. Painter-artist

 

NARRATOR

 Julie Mehretu is referring to the streets of Cairo, Egypt, the ancient city that in 2011 experienced a people-led revolution. At the heart of it was Tahrir square. And you can see the square’s architecture underneath Mehretu’s wild chorus of marks.

 

JULIE MEHRETU

You see a perspectival space as if you’re looking over a city. And then there’s a section on the left where you actually see the map of Cairo... and that map becomes almost like a vascular type of system in the painting. And all the lines start to radiate from within that map. These marks kind of march toward the square.

 

[SOUNDFX: SOUNDS OF TAHRIR SQUARE]

 

NARRATOR

Cairo is a monumental flurry of trans-dimensional lines and marks, applied in layers that evoke a diverse topography.

 

JULIE MEHRETU

And then at a certain point when the architectural drawing is set enough, then I’ll start working on it with my hand and the mark-making and the brushes and other elements of erasure and whatever else comes into the picture. To use my body and to make marks, that’s when I’m inventing and when I’m working within the work.