Pressure Wave



  • Enamel on stainless steel
  • 182 x 160 x 152 cm

Reminiscent of computer generated architectural models, Rashid Al Khalifa’s mobiles appear like sculptural blueprints, hovering in space and floating in time. These architectural apparitions are suggestive of the interconnectedness of cityscapes whereby the carefully considered assemblage of their foundational elements results in compositions where both interior and exterior worlds interlock, envelop and support one another.

Despite their stillness, such structures appear to resonate and vibrate. A sudden change in view creates the illusion of movement, the result of several illusory effects. When we fixate on a particular layer of this colorful gridlocked matrix, the image momentarily remains on our retinas as an after-image. Small, involuntary eye movements cause this ‘ghost’ image to overlap with our current view and the result is a ‘moiré effect’- whereby similar repetitive patterns merge together at different angles to create what appears to be a rippling effect.

The intricacy of the shadow that is cast beneath these structures is the result of the meticulousness of the formation of the structure itself.  If the structure is indicative of a physical foundation, the shadow that is cast is a reflection of its physicality. Its shadow appears like the antithesis of the structure- the interior space, the essence. It reminds us that what we see is real.

We typically understand shadow as that which follows-  consequential, darkness after light. Here, the parametric and modular nature of these works (whereby the units come together to form the larger composition) is definitive. Therefore, the shadow is in no way simply a consequence, but is an equally important and necessary element of the work: it acts simultaneously as both a medium and a message. Each structure needs its shadow to exist.

The shadow and its varying shades, reverberates with depth and perspective. And so, what if the perceived vibration of the structure- the ‘moiré effect’- is not an illusion but rather is a frequency emitted and created by our vision, the light, the structure and its colours? In that case, the shadows may very well be representative of this frequency, their resonance presented through the crosshatched shades of penumbra that are cast.

Copyright © Rashid Al Khalifa