Hitting (Aniconism as Figuration Urgency), 2023

Monia Ben Hamouda, Hitting (Aniconism as Figuration Urgency), 2023; Laser cut iron, spice powders; 209 × 141 × 0.03 cm

Borrowing from the tradition of Aniconism in Islamic calligraphy, Ben Hamouda uses this ancient strategy of circumvention in Aniconism as Figurative Urgency (2021-ongoing). Calligraphic brushstrokes that mimic Arabic text yet signify nothing, the steel sculptures are abstract forms that occasionally show hands in various stages of throwing. Covered in fragrant spices such as chili, cumin, curry, henna, coconut charcoal, dried beetroot and salt, the sculptures protect and are protected by their medicinal, ceremonial, culinary and ritualistic properties used for thousands of years.

Originally presented in the artist’s 2023 solo exhibition at the ChertLüdde gallery titled About Telepathy and other Violences, ten works from the series were layered asymmetrically behind each other to show movement within their static forms. Conjuring approaches to the Italian Futurist avant-garde, the installation renders dynamism through the repetition of images that gradually evolve to show the action of a hand at various stages of throwing.

Photos by Marjorie Brunet Plaza