Layered fragments, muted tones and lost histories are interwoven into Alia Hamaoui’s multidisciplinary practice. A combination of print, painting and ‘construction’; Hamaoui’s work embodies a shift from physical remnants of the past to the digitising of memories. It’s the combination of all of these disciplines which makes her work so tangible. You become enticed by the multitude of surfaces. Each piece demands your attention through its concrete presence.
The ‘constructions’ which Hamaoui creates are solid and totemic, acting as frames for historic and cultural imagery. It’s telling that she names her 3-D pieces ‘constructions’ rather than sculptures. It gives the audience a sense that rather than each structure acting as whole entity, it is in fact a layering of components which together form a narrative of cultural identity. The interplay between relics and the digital manifest in both physical and metaphorical forms. There is a sense of antipodal aesthetics; transparency and opacity, solidity and fluidity, textured and smooth. These visuals seek to explore the interchangeable materiality of the ‘artefact’. The materials used – brick, mortar, ceramic – pose a reconfiguration of the domestic space. Soap is embedded with coloured material causing ripples of texture, sharp square blocks of tile are pressed into plaster and mesh fabric is stretched to show images of archaeological remains.
During Hamaoui’s residency at Artist Run in Peckham, she has continued to explore how digital technology and data is intercepting our perspective on historical narratives. These ‘windows’ of digital imagery, encased with architectural materials, become memorials for the future, an ode to what may or may not still be or put simply, future relics.
Hamaoui was born in France and grew up in Lebanon and England. She recently graduated from Camberwell College of Arts and lives and works in London. She is also currently artist in residence at Artist Run in Peckham. Her first solo show opens at Artist Run on Thursday 18th October. The show will run until 21st October.
Words by Esme Boggis