Monira Al Qadiri

Artsy Editorial
Sep 16, 2019 6:13PM

Monira Al Qadiri by Raisa Hagiu. Courtesy of the artist.


Through videos and installations, artist Monira Al Qadiri creates unsettling, supernatural, or kitschy atmospheres. Drawing on history, ritual, culture, and power, she shifts viewers into a new headspace. For her 2017 video installation The Craft—commissioned by Gasworks in London and The Sursock Museum in Beirut—Al Qadiri turned her childhood memories in Kuwait into a paranoid narrative in which aliens invade from the brightly lit interior of an American diner. Her distrust increasingly blossoms, addressing first her familial relationships, and then society itself.

Calling Al Qadiri a “master of suspicion,” Gasworks curator Sabel Gavaldon said that the artist’s ability to create speculative scenarios is what makes her work so innately powerful. She imagines “parallel universes that are both terrifying, fascinating, and otherworldly…until you realize that they are not so far from the actual world we live in,” Gavaldon said. Like an archaeologist, he continued, Al Qadiri unearths tiny fragments of a future that is already here.

Formerly a member of the artist collective GCC, Al Qadiri has increasingly gained attention for her personal practice. In 2018, she participated in the Athens Biennial, the Luleå Biennial, and the Asia Pacific Triennial. Earlier this year, she debuted a large outdoor sculpture at PinchukArtCentre’s Future Generation Art Prize exhibition in Venice. This fall, she’ll open a solo show at Kunstverein Göttingen in late September, and will present work in the group show “Theater of Operations” at MoMA PS1 in November.

Artsy Editorial