While traveling throughout Egypt, Degner often heard about miracles and that they come in many forms: miracles that are written about in newspapers, for example, or miracles that are only discussed confidentially. His pursuit of these stories lead him to nearly every part of the country: from cities to villages, from mountains to valleys, from deserts to seas. He diligently tracked even the faintest whisper of a miracle story to its source and sought to understand people’s individual experiences and the apparent purpose of these miracles.
"Modern Miracles" is rooted in a relentless question that dated back to Degner’s days as a student of philosophy and evolved into an attempt to photograph the places where the material and the immaterial meet. Today the project comprises an extensive collection of images depicting miracles in Egypt not as something rare and abstract, but as everyday occurrences. This solo exhibition is a result of his personal project that has been five years in the making.
The exhibition venue is the only surviving section of a palace that once-sultan of Egypt, Sultan Qaitbey, built in 1474 as part of the vast complex constructed in the cemetery around his mausoleum. In a city with opulent history at every turn, this recently-restored Ma’qad of Sultan al-Sharaf Qaitbey is still considered one of the most valuable and significant landmarks of Cairo and is listed as a historic monument. It was built in the architectural style of the late Mamlouk period and has a long history of restorations, yet it was ARCHiNOS Architecture who ultimately planned, documented, and completed the recent conservation of the 15th-century building in 2016, since turning it into a cultural hub that serves both the local community and a broader public.
"Modern Miracles" is curated by Alexandra Stock and has been made possible with the generous support of the Sultan Foundation, Agnieszka Dobrowolska, Shadi Momtaz, and George Seif.