Egyptian Secrets

or Pawel Investigates The Afterlife Of James Lee Byars

Pawel Kruk

On Saturday, November 29th 2014, from sunset until the following sunrise, artist Pawel Kruk invites “The Ghost of James Lee Byars” to the Mena House Oberoi hotel, in Cairo.

You are welcome to meet “The Ghost of James Lee Byars”. During the announced times, you may visit the Mena House Oberoi, head to the reception desk, and ask to be connected to the room of Mr. Pawel Kruk.

On Sunday evening, November 30th 2014 at 8PM, we warmly request your company for an evening of storytelling at Beirut’s library with Pawel Kruk. The evening is part of “Egyptian Secrets or Pawel Investigates the Afterlife of James Lee Byars”.

James Lee Byars (b. 1932, Detroit) was an American conceptual artist, considered to be “one of the most mythic figures of the last century.”

On 23 May 1997, Byars died at the Anglo-American hospital in Cairo, Egypt, according to an announcement made, three days later, in the New York Times. According to a shopkeeper at the Mena House Oberoi Bazaar, Byars may have died in his hotel room.

Pawel Kruk (b. 1976, Koszalin) an artist, investigator and storyteller, sets out to explore the little known facts that create the myth of James Lee Byars and the circumstances surrounding his death. Kruk writes emails to Byars friends, visits the hotel where Byars spent his last days and the hospital where he allegedly died. Kruk’s journey begins with a visit to Byars grave.

The ghost of James Lee Byars is evoked through Kruk’s time in Cairo, the limits of knowing while performing a desire to know more, is something of a private conversation evoked through the encounter of both artists, one living, one dead, both present.

Pawel Kruk (b. 1976, Koszalin) currently lives and works in Bolinas.
Jame Lee Byars (b. 1932, Detroit) is currently buried in Cairo.

Egyptian Secrets or Pawel Investigates the Afterlife of James Lee Byars is realized with the generous support of Corner College in Zurich, Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw,, Juliette Delventhal, Jon Brunner and Peter Orner.

A special thank you goes to Sara El-Adl for her invaluable contribution to the project, and to Stefan Wagner for making this investigation possible.