Cenotaph for Two (detail), 2011. Polymer gypsum, fiberglass, steel, polystyrene, wood, and paint, 90 x 90 x 132 in.

Ghosts of Things: A Conversation with Diana Al-Hadid

Diana Al-Hadid was born in Aleppo, Syria, spent most of her childhood in Ohio, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her most recent work draws inspiration from sources as varied as Renaissance tapestries, with their unusual spatial tensions, Jacopo Pontormo’s strange fresco of the Visitation in the atrium of SS. Annunziata in Florence, and Taddeo Gaddi’s intricate preparatory drawing (collection of the Louvre) for his Presentation of the Virgin fresco in the Baroncelli Chapel (Santa Croce, Florence). Al-Hadid’s complex and innovative works, which tackle Old Master painting and its offshoots in idiosyncratic ways, require a great many digital drawings, a huge amount of coordination, and lots of teamwork. The trick lies in making all of this research, time, and effort disappear in the finished works—sculptures captured in a moment of suspended disintegration as mass makes way for liquefying, then freezing, sheets and strands. In the six short years since Al-Hadid has been showing, she has had more than 10 solo exhibitions showcasing an impressively diverse body of work. …see the entire article in the print version of April’s Sculpture magazine.