Julie Mehretu's 'Mogamma' Pits Chaos Against Institutions

By: Alexander Lam - Published: • References: whitecube and itsnicethat
A series of paintings called 'Mogamma, A Painting in Four Parts' by artist Julie Mehretu engages the viewer about themes of chaos interacting with order. The paintings are made with outlines of public architecture covered with chaotic scribbles.

Made during the Arab Spring, Mogamma aims to reflect the upheaval and political destruction inherent during that time. The collection was named after a government building at the center of the Egyptian Turmoil called Al-Mogamma. Each painting reflects the chaos resulting from political power during those tumultuous times.

Mehretu used architecture as a backdrop because she believes that "architecture reflects the machinations of politics." Since buildings are "spaces of power," throwing a chaotic overlay on top of building outlines matches the collection's theme perfectly.