Touching the Pyramids: Gertrude Studios 2022

Ezz Monem

9 Nov - 18 Dec 2022


Inspired by the abstract painter Al Held’s remark that “all Conceptual art is just pointing at things,” John Baldessari created the series Commissioned Paintings (1969), which depicts a hand pointing at things. The quote is relevant to Ezz Monem’s practice of pointing out/ collecting found images, copying, and transforming them into alternate archives. 

The images were created from found images collected from a studio near the Great Pyramids area for tourists doing the cliché poses of pointing at/ touching the top of the pyramids. After printing the images, Ezz rephotographed the prints by focusing his medium format camera on the tourists’ hands and the pyramid’s landscape, imitating the gesture of hands pointing at things at Baldessari’s work.

In another part of the work, Ezz recreated part of John Baldessari’s work: Wall Painting (2017), in which, for twenty-four days in October and November, twenty-four students painted the back wall of the Monash university gallery a colour of their choosing, then they hang a black and white image of the pyramids in the centre of the wall. Majed Fayyad, Ezz’s friend who was a student at Monash at that time, chose Ohakune and painted the wall on Ezz’s birthday before they ever met in 2017. After building a timber wall in the gallery space of Gertrude Contemporary, Ezz invited Majed to paint the wall with the same color, Ohakune, on the same day of the original performance, 23 October.


Gertrude Contemporary

Gertrude’s annual Gertrude Studios exhibition presents new and recent works produced in the organisation’s 16 studios and celebrates the site as a conduit for dialogue and making. As a collective snapshot of the practices supported within the program, the exhibition offers the opportunity to experience a broad diversity of works from leading arts practitioners in Naarm Melbourne, as well as examine material and conceptual developments in contemporary practice.

The exhibition is conceived across the year by the Gertrude Studio Artists and the Curator in Residence Tim Riley Walsh, providing a chance for the Studio Artists to experiment with divergent ideas or reflect on recent productions in new configurations, all in conversation with the work of fellow practitioners. The exhibition features work from each of Gertrude’s seventeen current Studio Artists, displayed across all of the galleries at Preston South.

Hoda Afshar
Darcey Bella Arnold
Justin Balmain
Catherine Bell
Mia Boe
Sarah Brasier and Matthew Harris
Francis Carmody
Narelle Desmond
Amrita Hepi
Ruth Höflich
Gian Manik
Ezz Monem
Mia Salsjö
Nina Sanadze
Scotty So
Lisa Waup

Gertrude Contemporary

Wurundjeri Country
21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm