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Dame Zaha Hadid

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Dame Zaha Hadid

by Michael Craig-Martin
wall mounted LCD screen with integrated software, 2008
49 1/2 in. x 29 1/2 in. (1257 mm x 749 mm) overall
Commissioned; made possible by J.P. Morgan through the Fund for New Commissions, 2008
Primary Collection
NPG 6840

On display in Room 32 at the National Portrait Gallery

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Craig-Martin is one of the key figures in the first generation of British conceptual artists, and this commission marks a new departure into the realm of portraiture for him. Although the
linear portrait is fixed, the colours are controlled by computer software that makes constantly randomised choices. The work slowly changes over time in infinite combinations.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Portraits, p. 146
  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 144 Read entry

    Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid (1950-2016) was an Iraqi-British architect and founder of Zaha Hadid Architects. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Queen of the curve’, her work is characterised by bold, visionary forms, and her buildings can be seen all over the world. The London Aquatics Centre (built for the 2012 Olympic Games), the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati and the Guangzhou Opera House in China are among her most renowned projects. In 2004, Hadid became the first woman to receive the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. She won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011, for the Maxxi Museum, Rome, and Evelyn Grace Academy, London, respectively. In 2016, shortly before her death, she became the first individual female recipient of the Royal Gold Medal, awarded annually since 1848 by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

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  • Howgate, Sarah; Nairne, Sandy, A Guide to Contemporary Portraits, 2009, p. 42 Read entry

    Michael Craig-Martin’s portrait of Zaha Hadid consists of a live LCD monitor that hangs on a wall like a painting and displays a line drawing of Zaha Hadid wearing an Issey Miyake jacket. While the linear drawing is fixed, the intense colours in the portrait and its background slowly but constantly change. These changes are controlled by live computer software, encased in the monitor, which makes random choices. There are so many variables that no one will ever see precisely the same image twice.

  • Howgate, Sarah; Nairne, Sandy, A Guide to Contemporary Portraits, 2009, p. 8 Read entry

    Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid (b. 1950) was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture. Her work, which includes the London Olympic Aquatics Centre (2012), is characterised by multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry, designed to evoke the chaos of modern life. This portrait marks a new departure for British conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin. Although his linear portrait of Hadid, based on photographs taken by the artist, is fixed, its saturated colour palette changes over time in infinite combinations. Just as Hadid uses computer-aided design to show the fluid nature of her spaces, her own likeness is appropriately realised as a computer portrait in a state of flux.

  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 283

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