Commissioned for Home Works 8, Ashkal Alwan
Where Does A Thought Go When It's Forgotten? 2019
Oil paint, color pencils, and ink drawings on envelopes, paper, and cardboard boxes.
For the past ten years or so, a team of architects and illustrators has collaborated on reconstructing the kitchen and living room of a destroyed house on the outskirts of Baghdad. While producing floor plans and suggestions alongside the artist, and exchanging them via sealed envelopes, the team was overtaken by delightful scents. The plants and flowers from which those odors originated eventually found their way into the sealed envelopes and paperwork, as if haunting the architects and illustrators’ bodies in a ghostly matter. The latter found themselves drawing the poisonous flowers for two days in a row. A French architect even wrote: “The scent of this beautiful white flower has triggered nausea, thirst, and fever. Yesterday, we forgot where we were and caught ourselves witnessing things that do not exist.” The workflow was interrupted, and the output subsequently destroyed, considered to have been based on stolen ideas originally authored by the plants and flowers surrounding the team.
Installation view of Ali Eyal, Where Does A Thought Go When It’s Forgotten? And. (detail), 2019–22, oil paint, color pencils, and ink drawings on envelopes, paper, and cardboard boxes, in the 58th Carnegie International, Courtesy of the artist and Carnegie Museum of Art; photo: Sean Eaton.
In Platform 39. Courtesy of the artist and Platform 39; photo: Mohammed Abdullah
The 58th Carnegie International