Diana Al-Hadid’s works transforms Renaissance and classical imagery into contemporary sculptural forms that appear to be decaying or resurfacing, often in a cascade of white, melting gypsum. Her towering sculptures, spectral wall pieces, and surreal bronzes will fill the 7,000 square foot gallery.
The exhibition takes its title from a central work, Phantom Limb, a term referring to the sensations that a missing arm or leg is still present, and able to move. The title captures the character of much of Al-Hadid’s work, which evokes memory and long cultural history through a visceral, materially-focused working technique. The theme of memory and its physical manifestations in art and architecture runs throughout Al-Hadid’s work.
The monumental sculpture of Phantom Limb is framed by two major wall insets: The Sleepwalker and Still Life. The first draws from the 4th Century BC bas-relief Gradiva, while the latter is a reworking of Hans Memling’s 1475 painting Allegory of Chastity. This ensemble travels from the artist’s recent show, The Fates, at the Secession Vienna. These three “fates” anchor a series of related sculptures, alongside the world-premiere of an epic new triptych of wall panels. For these brightly colored, shimmering wall panels, Al-Hadid responds to the Renaissance triptych, Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello. Like Uccello, Al-Hadid experiments and expands the pictorial space in her panels, oscillating between painting and sculpture.
To accompany the exhibition, NYUAD Art Gallery will publish a scholarly catalogue, with texts by Renaissance and contemporary art historians and curators: Reindert Falkenburg (NYU Abu Dhabi), Alistair Rider (University of St. Andrews), and Sara Raza (Guggenheim).
The exhibition derives in part from an exhibition at The Secession in Vienna, where Al-Hadid premiered the Phantom Limb sculpture. The NYU Abu Dhabi publication is paired with the sketchbook catalogue published by The Secession, and is in collaboration with Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery, where a different version of this exhibition is planned in the following year.
Monday through Saturday, 12-8 p.m.
Sundays closed, except for Sunday, March 6 open from 12-8 p.m.
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 5, 5-8pm. Open to the public.
Artist’s Talk: Sunday, March 13, 6:30-8pm. Open to the public.
Panel Discussion: Artist vs. Material (in Arabic), Saturday, April 30, 5pm (curator tour at 4:30)
Woven Identities examines how we adapt or conform to our immediate environment, and questions how the transient lifestyle in the UAE affects the sustainability of interdependent relationships.
The UAE has, and has had, many creative communities, both apparent and unknown. This exhibition focuses on one such formation, sometimes called “the 5”, a number that in fact varied in the decades framing the 1990s. It had at its core an intersection of artists, writers, and filmmakers from the UAE, South Asia, and Europe.