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Diana Al-Hadid's Suspended Reality

April 12, 2013

How does an artist resist reality? In this film, artist Diana Al-Hadid creates sculptures and drawings that embrace illusionism and the unknown, culminating in the exhibition The Vanishing Point (2012) at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York. “I want to explore the limits of my own thinking,” says Al-Hadid. The artist begins with a careful study of her materials—wax, clay, fiberglass, and bronze—and then experiments in her Williamsburg studio, getting the materials to “misbehave.”

Looking to Renaissance and Mannerist artists such as Robert Campin, Hans Memling, and Jacopo da Pantormo, Al-Hadid finds inspiration for her sculptures in the way paintings take liberties with the laws of physics. “For me to get a sculpture to lift off the floor…that’s the first way to rebel,” says the artist. Al-Hadid also reveals how her work evolved from realist drawings, done as a child, to her current sculptures and drawings made from the slow buildup of layers.

More information and credits

Featuring the works Blind Bust III (2012), Untitled (2012), At the Vanishing Point (2012), Divided Line (2012), Antonym (2012), and Suspended After Image (2012).


Art21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Cinematography: Nick Lindner, Amanda Long, John Marton, Wesley Miller, Nick Ravich & Andrew David Watson. Sound: Scott Fernjack, Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Amanda Long & Tida Tippapart. Design: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: Diana Al-Hadid. Additional Artwork & Music: Robert Campin, Hans Memling, Jacopo da Pantormo, Unknown Master, Wu Tang Clan. Thanks: Khouloud Al-Hadid, Marianne Boesky, Paul Pino, Serra Pradhan & Ted Riederer. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Interested in showing this film in an exhibition or public screening? To license this video please visit Licensing & Reproduction.

Diana Al-Hadid

Diana Al-Hadid was born in 1981 in Aleppo, Syria. She was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and currently lives and works in New York. Al-Hadid’s large-scale sculptures and wall hangings are the outcome of process-based investigations into materials, including fiberglass, polymer, steel, and plaster. Exploiting the innate tension between mass and gravity, Al-Hadid is particularly interested in the point at which her works are fixed to the ground, often seeking to create what she describes as “something that seems improbable.”

Diana Al-Hadid

“I don’t make work because I’m interested in something, and I want to explain it to you. I’m making it to become interested.”

Diana Al-Hadid

The questions and activities included in this guide are recommendations for incorporating Art21 films featuring Diana Al-Hadid into your classroom.

In the Studio

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Arlene Shechet