Diana Al-Hadid (b. 1981)
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Diana Al-Hadid (b. 1981)

The Tower of Infinite Problems

Diana Al-Hadid (b. 1981)
The Tower of Infinite Problems
polymer, gypsum, steel, plaster, fibreglass, wood, polystyrene, cardboard, wax and paint, in two parts
(i) 174 x 99 x 95in. (442 x 251.5 x 241.3cm.)
(ii) 83 x 105 x 63in. (210.8 x 266.7 x 160cm.)
Executed in 2008
Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above in 2008.
R. Reisenfeld, 'The Labyrinth in the Tower: A Conversation with Diana Al-Hadid', in Sculpture, March 2009 (detail illustrated in colour, p. 25).
F. Ismail Rahim, 'Diana Al-Hadid Saatchi: Unveiling the East', in Flash Art, March-April 2009 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
K. Carmichael, 'Navigating Culture and Context: Arab Artists in the West', in Contemporary Practices, vol. 6, 2010 (illustrated in colour, p. 239).
E. Booth-Clibbon (ed.), The History of the Saatchi Gallery, London 2011 (installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 736 and 737).
Y. Mohseni, 'Travels Through Space and Time', in Canvas, May-June 2011 (illustrated in colour, p. 129).
J. Morse, Sightings: Diana Al-Hadid, exh. pamphlet, Dallas, Nasher Sculpture Centre, 2011 (illustrated in colour, p. 5).
G. Buchakjian, War and Other [Impossible] Possibilities: Thoughts on Arab History and Contemporary Art, Beirut 2012 (illustrated in colour, p. 91).
New York, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Reverse Collider, 2008.
London, Saatchi Gallery, Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, 2009 (installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 1 and 2).
Lille, lille3000, La Route de la Soie, 2010-2011 (illustrated in colour, p. 64).
Murcia, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, La Conservera, Play the Wolf Fifth, 2011-2012.
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Bianca Chu
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Lot Essay

The Tower of Infinite Problems by Diana Al-Hadid is a large-scale, elegantly elaborate architectural structure that draws together a wide variety of materials and associations. Power, progress, technological and urban development and globalisation are represented here in a compendium of steel, plaster, fibreglass, wood, cardboard, wax and paint. The tower, which is a recurring motif in the Syrian-American artist's work evokes legend and myth, as well as the developing world, growing cities and capitalist societies. Tilted and displayed as it is, horizontally on the floor, it is redolent of a toppled spire, and acquires a more sinister symbolism. Made from base materials, its broken skeletal structure is a monument to human fallibility. Sprawling on the floor like an archaeological ruin, the sculpture plays with scale to place the viewer in an observer's role, encouraging us to move around it and try to place it within known forms of recognition. If viewed from the end, the two parts of the structure converge in an optical illusion, creating a spiral vortex suggesting a cyclical repetition of history.

Born in Aleppo, Syria and raised in New York City, Al-Hadid's work crosses cultures and disciplines, drawing inspiration from diverse sources including art history, science fiction and myth. Describing her work as 'impossible architecture', Al-Hadid draws stylistic elements from a variety of periods ranging from medieval churches to futuristic stadiums. Intenselypatterned and detailed structures, her works also reference the traditions of Islamic art, where abstract motifs are used to encourage contemplation of God's infinite wisdom. At once boldly architectural and fragile, Al-Hadid's delicate and elaborate sculptures often appear as if in a suspended state between corrosion and construction. Confounding our visual logic yet appealing to the romantic aestheticism often associated with ruins, her sculptures evoke a sense of spirituality and the mortality of humanity.


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