Monira Al Qadiri


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Monira Al Qadiri, OR-BIT 1, 2016, 3D printed plastic sculpture, automotive paint and levitation module, 20 x 30 x 20 cm, Art Jameel Collection. Photo by Mohamed Somji.

Artwork Details


Monira Al Qadiri






3D printed plastic, automotive paint and levitation module


30 x 20 x 20 cm

Credit Line

Art Jameel Collection

Work Description

The growing demand for oil has necessitated the development of specialised equipment for the optimization of its extraction, refinement, and distribution. Owing to the remote and secure nature of oil infrastructure, much of this industrial technology remains largely unknown to the everyday consumer. Monira Al Qadiri has produced a series of sculptural works based on one such apparatus: the drill heads used to bore through the earth’s crust to tap subterranean deposits. OR-BIT 1, a spinning drill head levitating mysteriously a few inches off its plinth, is a sort of “petro-magic” trick, presenting oil, and the technology used to extract it, as miraculous and mythic. As Michael Watts has observed, oil “harbors fetishistic qualities; it is the bearer of meanings, hopes, expectations of unimaginable powers.” The concentrated energy stored within the substance produces a fantastical condition of infinite growth and limitless possibility; it literally makes things come alive.

Artist Biography

Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983, Senegal) lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Monira Al Qadiri is a visual artist whose work explores unconventional gender identities, petrocultures and their possible futures, as well as legacies of corruption. Al Qadiri received a PhD in intermedia art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle East stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. Al Qadiri’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Circl, Amsterdam (2018), Sursock Museum, Beirut (2017), Gasworks, London (2017), Stroom Den Haag, The Hague (2017), Acud Macht Neu, Berlin (2017), ATHR Gallery, Jeddah (2017), Sultan Gallery, Kuwait City (2014) and Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo (2009). Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions, including ‘Spectrum 1’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2018); 20th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, São Paulo (2017); ‘Glasstress 2017’, Palazzo Franchetti San Marco, Venice (2017); ‘Let’s Talk about the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis’, Sursock Museum, Beirut (2016); ‘Invisible Threads: Technology & Its Discontents’, NYU Abu Dhabi (2016); ‘DUST’, CCA Warsaw (2015); ‘Whose Subject Am I?’, Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Germany (2015); and ‘Accented’, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah (2015).

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