For her first solo presentation in the UK, internationally acclaimed artist, Simone Fattal leads us on a journey of transformation. Imagining the large, brick-lined gallery to be a giant kiln, Fattal fills the space with a procession of her characteristic ceramic figures who are embarking on a spiritual and physical metamorphosis. Elements of an ancient landscape appear throughout the space; a delicate ceramic ladder, a series of carved architectural stele and a Mesopotamian ziggurat temple – connecting earth to heaven – inspire ideas around ascension and emancipation. A series of black and white etchings, drawn from Fattal’s memories of Damascus, as a garden paradise, appear as maps or windows for the voyagers.
Fattal’s work – watercolours and collages as well as sculptures made from clay and bronze – exists between figuration and abstraction. She draws on sources ranging from war and conflict, to landscape painting, ancient religions and mythologies, Sufi poetry and the fragility of the human form. She explores the impact of displacement and migration as well as the politics of archaeology and excavation. Using frequently recurring motifs and forms, and just enough detail to make her characters discernable, her works construct worlds that feel as though they have emerged – temporarily – from history and memory.