Eye of Ra, 2004

Basel 2016
carlier gebauer
ink on acrylic latex
575.0 x 431.0 (cm)
226.4 x 169.7 (inch)
Julie Mehretu’s large-scale, freestanding wall drawing takes its title from a figure from ancient Egyptian myth that functions as a feminine counterpart to Ra – a violent force that subdues his enemies. A source of heat and light, the Eye of Ra is associated with fire and flames. In Mehretu’s interpretation, a multilayered pictorial universe appears in a state of combustion. Smoke, flames, and wind appear to burst from a void in the upper quadrant of the drawing. Arcing lines radiate across the composition, giving the work an additional element of movement and urgency. Mehretu’s practice raises urgent questions about the ways in which we construct and live in the world. Her drawings and paintings layer and compress time, space, and place – thus collapsing art historical references to create a highly distinct visual vocabulary that offers a personal, contemplative response to the conditions of contemporary life.