Clay on My/Her Finger • A Picture of a Mud House


11 × 4 × 2,90 m
Clay, wood, stone, video

2 channel video installation
Film: 11’51”


The following is a loam house structure and red gate which Al-Sindy built out of Iraqi clay with her mother in the middle of the park and “railway keeper’s house” at Esslingen’s Villa Merkel gallery. From the outside, the strange house seems that it does not belong, that it is out of place, made visible only by the construction and materials used. The process inspired a variety of reactions. During construction, one citizen called the police, assuming that an illegal house was being built in this spot. Other passers-by perceived the building differently, saying it reminded them of their grandparents’ houses and associating it with positive experiences. Some viewers were irritated by both the architecture and the material, which are strange—almost insane—in the context of the time and location.

The artist’s personal biography served as the framework for the artistic work. Many of her works, and those that deal with memory in particular, create a sense of displacement and dislocation, moving this experience from its temporal and spatial origin to the here and now. The viewer is confronted with a place of a memory/the location confronts the viewer with a memory. Expectations, projections, and actual experiences become tangible and intermix with the ideas of the work itself.

Documentary photos: © Shana Levy
Video stills: © Havîn Al-Sîndy