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Cite Your Sources

Chisenhale Gallery

12 April - 9 June

El-Sayegh’s Chisenhale Gallery exhibition brings together principle elements from an ongoing series of works to explore themes relating to representation, abstraction and subjectivity. Comprising painting, drawing, print and sculpture, Cite Your Sources addresses the process of constructing meaning through the production and circulation of images and materials.

Pages from The Financial Times are applied directly onto areas of the gallery space, disrupting the neutrality of the otherwise white gallery walls. Chosen both for its representation of global finance and for the tone and texture of its pages, El-Sayegh’s sustained use of The Financial Times reflects her interest in the complex interactions between bodies and the political, economic and linguistic structures that contain them. Often overworked with the artist’s own gestures or with samples of her father’s calligraphy in English and Arabic—a daily exercise he calls ‘practice’—the newspaper becomes a surface to explore how words, sometimes made up or chosen by their shape, render meaning arbitrary yet contingent upon their surroundings.

In her series Net-grid (2010 – ongoing), El-Sayegh works with silk-screen print directly onto canvas to create a surface for a layered painting process, overlaid with hand-painted grids. The grid acts as a schematic that attempts to contain the fragmented debris of the words, images and materials that circulate throughout El-Sayegh’s work. In other works, bodies appear in disconnected forms—reproduced from sources ranging from consumer-media and pornography to anatomical textbooks—exploring the construction of the self as fragmentary and incomplete. Central to the exhibition is a new series of vitrine works in which objects and images are assembled, mirroring the layered process also visible in El-Sayegh’s paintings. Here, the limits of a surface, or boundary, are highlighted, questioning how acts of categorisation are constructed and upheld.

Through an engagement with materials experienced both underfoot and, on the walls, El-Sayegh’s new commission at Chisenhale Gallery addresses metaphorical connotations of the body; such as the body as a site of resistance and the body of a nation, and how these ideas relate to a multidimensional subjective experience. El-Sayegh’s practice simultaneously explores and rejects the systems that image production and circulation are bound to, questioning how forms and ideas mutate within material strata through repetition and reproduction.

As part of the commissioning process, a series of discursive events have been programmed in collaboration with El-Sayegh and run throughout her exhibition. El-Sayegh’s exhibition continues Chisenhale Gallery’s Commissions Programme for 2019, which includes new commissions by artists Ghislaine Leung, Ima-Abasi Okon and Sidsel Meineche Hansen. Through her work, El-Sayegh explores issues relating to labour, abjection and desire—often producing self-contained systems and complete worlds, themes that recur throughout Chisenhale Gallery’s programme for 2019.


64 Chisenhale Road, London E3 5QZ

Exhibition Event: Curator’s Talk and Late Opening



Chisenhale Gallery’s curatorial team gives an introduction to Mandy El-Sayegh’s new commission, ‘Cite Your Sources’. Programmed in association with First Thursdays when galleries across east London stay open until 9pm on the first Thursday of each month.


Getting to: Chisenhale Gallery

The gallery is 15 minutes walk from Mile End station and 19 from Bethnal Green station.

Buses: The 277 and 425 stop on Grove Road, the 8 stops on Roman Road, all at short distance.

Please contact Transport for London for detailed travel advice


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