The idea is simple and, like its central element, forcefully attractive. Ahmed Mater gives a twist to a magnet and sets in motion tens of thousands of particles of iron, a multitude of tiny satellites that forms a single swirling nimbus. Even if we have not taken part in it, we have all seen images of the Hajj, the great annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca. Ahmed’s black cuboid magnet is a small simulacrum of the black-draped Ka’bah, the ‘Cube’, that central element of the Meccan rites. His circumambulating whirl of metallic filings mirrors in miniature the concentric tawaf of the pilgrims, their sevenfold circling of the Ka’bah.
“There was a fine old barn at the Lake George farmhouse. You could see it from the kitchen window or from the window of Stieglitz’s little sitting room. With much effort I painted a picture of the front part of the barn… after that I painted the side where all the paint was gone with the south wind. It was weathered grey—with one broken pane in the small window.”