Illumination Diptych (Ottoman Waqf)

* Nearly 20,000 images of artworks the museum believes to be in the public domain are available to download on this site. Other images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. By using any of these images you agree to LACMA's Terms of Use.

Illumination Diptych (Ottoman Waqf)

England, London, 2010
Collages
Gold leaf, tea, pomegranate, Dupont Chinese ink and Offset x-ray film print on paper
Each: 64 × 44 1/2 in. (162.56 × 113.03 cm) Overall: 64 × 89 in. (162.56 × 226.06 cm)
Gift of Edge of Arabia and the artist (M.2010.159a-b)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

Like other contemporary artists, Ahmed Mater is not so much reinventing Islamic art as he is repurposing it so that it becomes more clearly a vehicle for personal expression....
Like other contemporary artists, Ahmed Mater is not so much reinventing Islamic art as he is repurposing it so that it becomes more clearly a vehicle for personal expression. He draws inspiration from the Islamic arts of the book, most notably manuscripts of the Qur’an, whose pages were decorated with illuminated borders, chapter headings, and verse markers. He even includes the word waqf, a notation often found in manuscripts of the Qur’an, which in legal terms designates a charitable donation. He brings to his work the same finesse, craftsmanship and close attention to detail as would be found in a traditional Islamic manuscript produced in a courtly workshop.

Generally a small scale and intimate art form, Mater has radically expanded the scale of his illuminated page, creating instead a different sense of intimacy by using his pages to frame or incorporate a human X-ray. After all, what could be more intimate and personal than literally to see inside another individual? This is most eloquently expressed in his great diptychs in which a traditional type of richly illuminated double page composition frames two X-rays set face to face; the skeletal images suggest some elemental form of humanity, stripped of the skin, hair, eyes and clothes that differentiate as well as separate us.

More...

Bibliography

  • Booth-Clibborn, Edward, ed. Ahmed Mater. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2010.
  • Komaroff, Linda. Gift Tradition in Islamic Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2012.
  • Komaroff, Linda. Gifts of the Sultan: the Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2011.