Self Melt (and 6 details)
Polymer gypsum, steel, polystyrene, cardboard, wax and paint
147.3 x 142.3 x 190.5 cm
Al–Hadid’s geometric forms attempt to bridge mystical and scientific understandings of the world. As intensely patterned and detailed structures, her works draw from the traditions of Islamic art, where abstract motifs are used to encourage contemplation of God’s infinite wisdom. An ‘infinite wisdom’ that is also the focus of the particle physics research being done at the Large Hadron Collider – a 17 mile tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border – where scientists are attempting to locate the “God Particle” by reproducing the Big Bang. In Self Melt the top section of the sculpture is based on Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 1556 painting The Tower of Babel. Presented upside down, the ziggurat becomes an inverted form, like an hourglass turning back time, suggesting a reversal of cultural diaspora. Through its rough hewn and barbaric appearance – reminiscent of a geological formation or frozen asteroid - Self Melt points to a mythological point of origin, where diversity and itsconsequences are supernaturally preordained.