Khaled Hafez: Telling a Story in 10 Engaging Chapters

Khaled Hafez paints a beautiful story in his current exhibition Codes of Hermes.

In Codes of Hermes, prostate  Khaled Hafez proposes a series of mixed media paintings, prescription  coded with personal experience that continuously explore notions of identity, the intimate, migration and the struggle of wealth and power, all visually coded in pictographs, ideograms and—at times—déjà vu banal symbols from the consumer goods culture. The project Codes of Hermes is inspired from the merged concepts of the ancient Greek snake God Hermes and the Egyptian wisdom God Thoth.

Some ancient cultures made Hermes the God of nature, farmers and shepherds with shamanic attributes linked to divination, reconciliation, magic, sacrifices, experience-initiation and contact with other planes of existence, a role of mediator between the worlds of the visible and invisible. Hafez draws on the physical attributes of the God to express hybridized cultures of today’s globalization; Hermes was the teacher of all secret wisdoms available to knowing by the experience of religious ecstasy, and due to his constant mobility, Hermes was considered the God of commerce and social intercourse, the wealth brought in business, travel, roads and crossroads, borders and boundary conditions, agreements and contracts, friendship, hospitality, sexuality (represented for over a decade in Hafez’s paintings by the symbol of the tulip) and playfulness. Playfulness and irony play a major role in the visual language of Hafez across all the mediums he uses to express; Hafez believes that both artist and viewer must enter a game of coded pleasures while living with the artwork.

Khaled’s works not only incorporate the divine of mythology, but also a blend of modern society. It is easily seen through the mixed media of magazine clippings that adorn almost every chapter of Codes of Hermes. The combination of myth and reality brings an engaging, and colorful experience that could not be better expressed by Khaled’s personal narrative.

In each chapter, we get to explore the turmoils of Khaled’s struggle with his identity, his country and the journey that art has taken him on throughout his entire life. Each painting is filled with hidden codes and secrets for the viewer to interpret. There is no direct summary for these paintings, or a certain meaning. Codes of Hermes is meant for all of us to discover our personal story, even if it’s within someone else’s.

Khaled Hafez is a Cairo-based visual artist & filmmaker. Born in Cairo, Egypt in 1963, where he currently lives and works. His work has been shown at the 56th Venice Biennale (Italy, 2015) and the 55th Venice Biennale (Italy, 2014), 3rd Mardin Biennale (Turkey, 2015), Manifesta 8 (Spain, 2010) and in the USA (The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY), France (Centre George Pompidou, Paris); UK (British Museum), Germany (Kunstmuseum Bonn); Belgium (MuHKA Museum of Art), Greece (Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art); The Netherlands (Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde); Sweden (Uppsala Museum of Art) and Brazil (Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Sao Paolo) among other fine institutions world-wide. Khaled Hafez was included in the 2014 FotoFest Biennial which focused on the Contemporary Arab Video, Photographic Art and Mixed Media Installations.

Codes of Hermes marks Hafez’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Khaled Hafez first exhibited at Deborah Colton Gallery during the Group Exhibition, “Mapping Strife”. Deborah Colton Gallery also featured his work at the 2014 Houston Fine Arts Fair. Khaled Hafez is represented by Deborah Colton Gallery throughout the Americas.

Khaled Hafez: Telling a Story in 10 Engaging Chapters