The Third Line is pleased to participate in this year’s edition of Art Athina. The gallery brings a solo presentation by Sophia Al Maria that includes The Limerent Object and a selection from the artist’s new series EVERYTHING MUST GO, focusing on Sophia’s interest in apocalyptic sci-fi scenarios, her fear for the future and her perception of the universe and our place within it.
The Limerent Object plays with different notions of chaos and destruction, with sexual energy as its catalyst. Depicting the end of the world, this piece shows the last human on earth yearning for his ancient alien antecedent; the subject of his limerence. Sophia plays with myths of a panspermic genesis and a Holocene apocalypse, combined with ancient imagery. The Alien’s shape is inspired by Paleolithic goddesses and the Martian wall paintings of Tassil n’Ajjer in the Algerian Sahara, a subject referenced frequently in Sophia’s work. After encountering these ancient rock drawings the artist has been fascinated with the notion of passed time and our role and meaning within the universe. In The Limerent Object two creatures communicate through time and space; the Alien queen seduces the last dying human who pleasures himself into his demise, a love story emphasizing humanity’s futility within the cosmos.
Where The Limerent Object offers a mythopoetic approach to the end of days, Sophia’s new series EVERYTHING MUST GO addresses the subject head on. The viewer is met by toxic coloured prints that juxtapose emblems of consumerism with military jargon, referencing the crux of the end of days where chaos and destruction are met by a violent military attempt to reinstate order. EVERYTHING MUST GO toys with the viewer by combining military jargon with emblems borrowed from beauty products, leaving us to question ‘what is what’. Sophia points out the violence in cosmetic advertising and questions the motions we go through to abide by society’s norms.
Throughout her practice, Sophia has been finding ways to describe 21st century life in the Gulf through art, writing, and filmmaking. She has explored different complexities such as environmental damage, religious conservatism, and historical contradictions that the Gulf has encountered.