Syrian-born and Brooklyn-based artist Diana Al-Hadid (1981) is renowned for her lofty sculptures, wall pieces and surreal bronzes that appear to be in a state of ruin, a place between creation and destruction. Inspired by myriad sources including historical architecture, Hellenistic sculpture, progressing science, myths and works by the old masters, her pieces can look like renderings from a fantasy world. They are also intricate studies of space and structure in which the viewer is continually re-engaging the work through its constant shift and flow of perspectives.
The sculptures are made from crude and common materials such as plaster, styrofoam, wax and cardboard. They are often described as “metaphorical bridges” between the Middle Eastern world of her early childhood and the Western world she now inhabits. They remind us of both cultural differences and conflict, a subject of great interest to Al-Hadid, and can be seen as symbolic monuments of human fallibility such as the myth of the Tower of Babel and the reality of the World Trade Centre tragedy.
Her abstract imagery on panels are also created from common materials such as polymer gypsum, plaster, fiberglass, wood and steel, and are where she in a movement of methodical layering and controlled drips creates a combination of painting and sculpture. They are often structures as intensely patterned and detailed as the traditions of Islamic art where abstract motifs are used to encourage contemplation of God’s infinite wisdom. Not dissimilar to fresco, the technique is a combination of the material and pigment, which can be implemented site-specifically or mounted on a wall.