Fattal's works emerge from the places and people of her life, as well as from the epic narrative she studies. In looking at art and culture produce in the ancient world, Fattal makes essential comparisons to the current moment, and the displacements and wars she has experienced run throughout her works. She reaches through time to address the present.
Her acts of ressurrection, however, aren't resolved. (...) Her forms are tangibly present, yet it is as if they are coming into being or, conversely, fading away. Either way, they aren't quite here. As echoes of the past, they resonate into the future. (...) As memory fades, and people and time extinguish what was once there, Fattal harnesses the compulsion to keep making the forms, to get them right, and to preserve them in a new sort of archaeology. Indeed, this process has ties to the Mesopotamian histories she mines. The representations of battles and other events in the texts and imagery of the era had a ritual function. As historian Zainab Bahrani articulates, representation was not only based in mimesis but also worked to "create a reality by means of the utterance".(1)
While many works make reference to epic tales of ancient history, such as the stories of Gilgamesh, Ulysses, and Dhat al-Himma, the heroine of a largely forgotten ancient Arabian epic, several other of her works capyure the nuance of personal memory and fleeting moments.
Fattal's works run through the liminal spaces between being and becoming, between remembering and forgetting. Like incantations, they summon what has been left behind in order to unsettle the present. And like archaeological remnants, they instruct us about the past. However, the works' breadth and ambiguities also serve as reminders that each passing moment indeed produces history.(...) Never far from the earth, her works emerge as an unfinished project of telling the stories of ancient history in relation to what has just passed and what will return again.
Excerpt of Simone Fattal: 'Warriors and Poets' of Simone Fattal: Works and Days MoMA PS1 Exhibition Catalogue, by Ruba Katrib (2019) (pp.4-13)
(1) Zainab Bahrani, Rituals of War: The Body and Violence in Mesopotamia (New York: Zone Books, 2008), 53