Posted On: June 19, 2018

Diana Al-Hadid on Gradiva

Deputy Director of Mad. Sq. Art and Martin Friedman Senior Curator, Brooke Kamin Rapaport sat with Diana Al-Hadid to hear an excerpt from Wilhelm Jensen’s novella Gradiva. Al-Hadid’s wall structure on the Oval Lawn evokes the 20th-Century mythological female figure. This short excerpt highlights the story’s protagonist, archaeologist Norbert Hanold, who fantasizes about Gradiva’s bas relief sculpture and follows her through Pompeii during the eruption of Vesuvius. The imagery and detailed analysis of Gradiva’s walk signals Hanold’s obsession and exposes Al-Hadid’s inclination for regenerating female histories in a new elegiac way.

Al-Hadid’s response to this novella has informed all aspects of Delirious Matter. The project’s six female figures are restless and in repose. Al-Hadid reads a particularly evocative passage from Jensen’s text: “From Vesuvius the red glow flared over her countenance, which, with closed eyes, was exactly like that of a beautiful statue. No fear nor distortion was apparent, but a strange equanimity, calmly submitting to the was manifest in her features.”

Take a look at Jensen’s Gradiva Part I

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