Diana Al-Hadid: Delirious Matter
In Diana Al-Hadid’s Delirious Matter, six female figures — the freestanding 14-feet high walls titled The Grotto and Gradiva; a conical work, Citadel; and three figures called Synonym — commune as they face the central Oval Lawn and form a kinship of women throughout the history of art and on site in the park. Their synergy and the artist’s observation of the unexpected prompt the framework of Delirious Matter. The organic plan of park walkways, distinctly opposed to the geometric grid of Manhattan streets, confirms Al-Hadid’s idea of delirium, or a restless excitement that grips individuals. While these works resemble eroded sculpture or historic ruin, the artist’s process is additive: she builds up layers of material, here polymer gypsum and fiberglass.
Al-Hadid’s influences come from architecture, antiquity, cosmology, and Old Master paintings. She finds inspiration in diverse sources, such as ancient frescoes, Northern Renaissance art, Islamic miniatures, ancient time-telling devices, and the modern sculpture of Italian artist Medardo Rosso. Al-Hadid shares that she “was educated by modernist instructors in the Midwest, but also raised in an Islamic household with a culture that very much prizes narrative and folklore.” These references reflect her perspective as an immigrant from Syria who moved to Ohio when she was a child and form the core of her work.