1871 Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida had its world premiere in Cairo at the Khedivial Opera House.
1971 The Khedivial Opera House was destroyed by fire. A multi-storied parking garage was built in its place, but the square still retains its original name: Opera Square, Meidan El Opera.
2013 For the first time in the opera house’s history, Aida was cancelled in protest against the attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to impose their control over culture.
Katharina Maria Raab is pleased to present David Krippendorff’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The show presents his film Nothing Escapes My Eyes, accompanied by a series of related works on paper.
Nothing Escapes My Eyes tells a universal story that unfolds without words, depicting the silent transformation of a place and a human being, both subjected to the melancholy of conforming. Inspired by Verdi’s Aida, the film metaphorically depicts current issues of cultural identity, loss and the pressures to conform.
We see a woman (actress Hiam Abbass) sitting in front of a mirror framed by light bulbs, in the process of shedding one identity for another. While she reluctantly removes her ancient Egyptian costume and make-up and replaces her costume for a modern dress, the camera gradually reveals the setting. The woman is actually sitting in the middle of an empty parking garage, at the Opera Square in Cairo. The Square is named after the Royal Opera House, where Verdi’s Aida premiered in 1871. Exactly one hundred years later the Opera House was completely destroyed by fire, and later replaced by a multi storied parking garage. Just as the identity of the city of Cairo underwent a series of transformations due to a colonial past and current globalism, Krippendorff’s character is also depicted as a person trying to adapt her identity to the new culture. With no dialogues, the film is backed by a musical excerpt from Verdi’s Aida whose lyrics express the difficulties of being loyal to one’s country and cultural identity. The personal and urban transformation tackles on issues of identity, loss and disorientation as a result of historical colonialism and contemporary globalization
Nothing Escapes My Eyes won as “Best Short Film” at the Berlin Short Film Festival (2016) and at the San Giò Verona Video Festival (2016). It was screened at the Concorto Film Festival in Piacenza, Italy (2016), at the Musrara Mix Festival in Jerusalem (2017), at the 8th Cairo Video Festival (2017) and at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (2018).