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Object Story

Albeit abstract and gestural, the wall-like sculpture in the foreground of this image alludes to the mythological female character Gradiva from Wilhelm Jensen’s 1903 titular novella. In the story, the bas-relief sculpture of Gradiva, or “the woman who walks through walls,” captivates an archaeologist who then dreams of chasing Gradiva through the ruins of Pompeii. This idealized apparition inspires the protagonist’s journey to Pompeii, culminating in the manifestation of Gradiva as his childhood love interest.
The myth of Gradiva became famous through a psychoanalytic study by Sigmund Freud, and occupied the imagination of Surrealists and Poststructuralists. The many recollections and reconstructions of this allegorical figure serve as a point of departure for Al-Hadid. The enigmatic Gradiva repeatedly materializes and disappears from this facade, evoking the elusive nature of memories and desires.