JR blows the top off Egypt’s Great Pyramid: first look at Cairo show of contemporary sculpture

First exhibition of its kind at the 4,500-year-old Unesco World Heritage Site includes works by local and international artists, including Lorenzo Quinn, Gisela Colón and Sherin Guirguis

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The Forever is Now exhibition—including JR's optical illusion—is on show at Cairo's Pyramids of Giza until 7 November Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

The Forever is Now exhibition—including JR's optical illusion—is on show at Cairo's Pyramids of Giza until 7 November Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

In his latest optical illusion, the street artist JR has ripped open the top of one of the Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt. The work is part of a trail of large-scale sculptures and installations by ten contemporary artists. The exhibition Forever is Now (until 7 November), billed as the first event of its kind at the 4,500-year-old Unesco World Heritage Site, is organised by Art D’Egypte, a company that aims to promote Egyptian art with annual exhibitions at historic sites.

“The exhibition represents a merging of ancient heritage and contemporary art,” Art d’Egypte says in a statement. “We wanted to show the link between our history and our present that will last forever […] the deep global impact of ancient Egypt, and the continuity of this impact through contemporary arts.”

At a packed press conference at Giza today, the artist Lorenzo Quinn spoke emotionally about his commission at the ancient site. “I have no words to express my true feelings right now,” he said. “The reason I chose to create this work for this site is to honour the fact that society always works better and can surpass any obstacle when it works together. It is a historical event. It is a true honour.”

Here are all the works on show.

Sultan bin Fahad's R III

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

João Trevisan's Body That Rises

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

Gisela Colón's Eternity Now

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

Stephen Cox Ra's Interior Space: Khafre

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

Shuster + Moseley's (Plan of the Path of Light) In the House of Hidden Places

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

Alexander Ponomarev's Ouroboros

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

Moataz Nasr's Barzakh

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

Lorenzo Quinn's Together

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

Sherin Guirguis's Here I Have Returned

Photo: Hesham Al Sayfi Courtesy of Art d'Egypte

JR's Greetings From Giza

Photo: MO4 Network / @artdegypte / Instagram

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