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Mandy El-Sayegh talks to Ben Luke about her influences—from writers to film-makers and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life and work.

Mandy El-Sayegh’s En masse Mandy El-Sayegh, En masse (2022) Festival Move, Centre Pompidou, Paris

Performers: Alethia Antonia, Mandy El-Sayegh, Chandenie Gobardhan, Rose Sall Sao.

El-Sayegh, born in Selangor, Malaysia, in 1985 and now living in London, makes paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and performances that assemble disparate materials to explore the human body and mind within diverse social, cultural and political contexts. Moving freely and intuitively across these disciplines and media, she creates arresting correspondences between image and text, between the natural and the artificial, and between the senses and the intellect.

Mandy El-Sayegh’s Net-Grid (Blessing) (2023)

She discusses growing up with a reproduction of Albrecht Dürer’s Christ on the Cross on the wall, the power of Paul Thek’s diverse work, her love of the South Korean artist Keunmin Lee’s paintings, the poetry of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and the films of David Cronenberg. Plus, she gives insight into life in the studio and answers our usual questions, including the ultimate: “what is art for?”

Installation shot of Mandy El-Sayegh’s Enfleshing (2023)at Wasserkirche, Zürich. Part of the exhibition In Session at Tichy Ocean Foundation, Zürich, 2023

• Mandy El-Sayegh, Interiors, Thaddaeus Ropac, London, 1-30 September

• Mandy El-Sayegh: In-Session, Tichy Ocean Foundation, Zurich, until 30 November

• The book The Makeshift Body: Mandy El-Sayegh, Black Dog Publishing, published in September, £29.95/$39.95

A corner of El-Sayegh’s studio

This podcast is sponsored by Bloomberg Connects, the arts and culture app.

The free app offers access to a vast range of international cultural organisations through a single download, with new guides being added regularly. They include two UK galleries that recently hosted Larry Achiampong’s travelling exhibition Wayfinder—MK Gallery in Milton Keynes and Turner Contemporary in Margate. If you download the app, you will find that the MK Gallery guide has in-depth features on current and recent exhibitions, including Larry’s show, with images and audio exploring different works across his career. In the guide to Turner Contemporary, you can hear Larry’s discussion about that version of the show with the curator and writer Aïcha Mehrez, along with features on Turner Contemporary’s latest exhibitions and projects.

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