STATE: Fatima Moallim
STATE: Carrying the four elements in a breast pocket
On the art of Fatima Moallim
Spatial experience is at the core of the art of Fatima Moallim. The activation of space is an integral part of the performances and installations she is known for. STATE continues to engage in spatial questions: To which spaces do we belong and which ones reject us? Which ones linger in memory, and which ones are lost to oblivion? The spaces we occupy are part of our heritage: rooms neatly lined up to narrate a coherent story with a clear, common thread that connects the place where we live today with our history and our heritage. But sometimes that thread is neither clear nor common. Instead, there are multiple threads, entangled and in different colors: Red, green, blue and black.
In the work of Fatima Moallim, the palette of the BIC 4-color ballpoint pen plays a crucial role. This pencil is as plain as they come. Everyone has held one in their hand. Moreover, it’s affordable and it easily fits in a pocket. Nevertheless, its four colors point towards something fundamental in our existence: blue as the sky, green as the sea, red as fire, and black as the earth. For those whose history is not written in straight lines and who have to reinvent their spaces, creativity and art making may become one’s home. Moallim manages to refunction both her world and her tools. The perspectives are vertiginous: The artist carrying the four elements in her breast pocket.
In earlier work, Moallim has famously elaborated the technique of continuous line drawing, making images created from one single line without lifting the pencil from the paper. In these drawings, the long-limbed human-like figures sometimes appear next to indistinguishable from repetitive patterns or ornaments; thus, challenging the notion of the figurative and the abstract. Questions about boundaries, objectification and relationships emerge: Where does a body begin and end? Where does “I” end and become “the Other”? And how can a piece of green crayon distinguish flesh from ornament? Hence, engaging in how to negotiate the boundaries between the abstract and the figurative may bring about aspects pertaining to the existential sphere; a dimension which is also very present in STATE.
Here, Moallim approaches geometric figures, especially the rectangle, and thereby articulates a visual language that tells both of confinement and possibilities. The rectangular, coffin-like shape is iterated in the drawings, but also in the central work, Cyclops, a sculptural installation in the form of a door cut from solid marble. Impulses from both minimalism and the spatial redefinitions of postminimalism can be traced in Cyclops. But in the work of Moallim, something new emerges. The weight and the gravitational pull of the marble block is disseminated in the room. These forces collide with the drawings’ low-key rhythm. An encounter takes place. The space shifts, leans into our states of mind.
Fatima Moallim was born in 1992 in Moscow, Russia. She is a self-taught artist who lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.The foundation of her work lies in drawing where Moallim express the energy directly via her senses to the canvas or paper through the tip of the pen.Moallim has exhibited site-specific works at Moderna Museet Stockholm, Göteborgs konsthall, Marabouparken, Zinkensdamm metro station in Stockholm and on the glass facade of Bonniers konsthall. She is represented in the collection of Moderna Museet and is the 2022 Iaspis Studio Grant Holder ISCP, New York.