Flying Carpets

Nadia Kaabi-Linke2011

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation

Illegal street vendors—primarily of African, Arab, and South Asian origin—often congregate at Il Ponte del Sepolcro in Venice to sell counterfeit goods to tourists. To avoid unwanted encounters with the authorities, they are often required to scoop up their wares in the rugs that they use for display and flee across the bridge. This journey to temporary safety is not only physical, but also metaphorical insofar as it encapsulates both the whimsical orientalist fantasy of the flying carpet and the harsh realities experienced by undocumented immigrants who cross the Mediterranean in search of better lives. The proportions of Kaabi-Linke’s sculptural meditation on this scenario—a complex assembly of suspended grids—come directly from those of the vendors’ rugs.

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