Ghada Amer

Caïro, 1963



Ghada Amer is always testing apparent polar opposites like east and west, male and female, artistry and artisanship. While she believes these lie at the root of much of the unhappiness of the world we live in, they are also fleeting. With her paintings, sculptures and public garden projects, Amer turns traditional conceptions of cultural identity, abstraction and religious fundamentalism on their head. She also confronts the language of hostility and finality with uncertain stories of desire, love and tenderness. 

The horror instilled in her by the war in Ukraine has led her to propose a reprise of Love Grave. She first made this work in 2003 following the start of George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”, in response to the absurdity of war and their effect in human lives. Consisting of four capital letters spelling the word “love” dug out six feet into the ground, the work seems to foreshadow its burial. By combining the abstract concept with a concrete and confronting image that evokes the inevitable end, she draws a connection between love and death, Eros and Thanatos, fullness and emptiness. 

Ghada Amer was born in Cairo, Egypt, and moved to France with her parents in 1974. She studied to become an artist in Villa Arson in Nice. She currently lives and works in New York and Paris. Her work has been displayed at the Venice Bienniale, the Sydney Biennial, the Whitney Biennial, and the Brooklyn Museum.