With Time

Alia Ahmad

04.10.2023 | 07.10.2023
Pièce Unique

MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique is very pleased to present With Time by Saudi artist Alia Ahmad.

Time is defined as “the indefinite, continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.” At the heart of Ahmad’s practice, time is both the tool with which she creates her large-scale compositions, as well as the subject of her work.

Begun by Ahmad in 2018 as a large-scale garden study, With Time, presented at MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique today is the artists’ longest work in the making. Over the course of five years, Ahmad inexorably returned to this canvas, drawn to its scale and constant openness: it always appeared unfinished, to be calling for more. Begun as a study of a garden landscape, Ahmad progressively added architectural structures, followed by abstract elements, pairing different shapes and hues with one another, covering them up with surrealist chalky whites, to ultimately achieve its completion.

With Time is thus an embodiment of time: both the fruit of the artist’s labour throughout the years, as much as the material with which she painted it, she compares its creation as a note-taking practice, a regular annotation of sensations and motifs that her eyes picked up, transcribed onto the canvas through the years. With Time is an artifact, or witness of passing time.

A compilation of sensations, memories of landscapes and architecture, With Time reveals its past appearances only in glimpses, scattered across the canvas. Similar to a portal withholding secrets of the past, the painting’s multiple layers invite viewers to delve into its meandering gestural motifs, to lose the viewer into its deep dark scripture-like shapes, that blur the line between writing and abstraction.

Rather than thinking of time as a negative, threatening element, Ahmad has harnessed its power by embracing the benefit of hindsight, and learning from the past. In her own words, “practice makes perfect” and the shapeshifting of her painterly practice is integral to reaching her composition’s completion, learning from the painting’s lessons from the past.

For her presentation at MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique, Ahmad chose to expand the rich darkness of her canvas by covering the gallery’s walls with the colour of confidence: black. Like the black lines that allow her to outline, define and structure her compositions, the black backdrop for her work empowers and magnifies the painting’s texture, whilst simultaneously reshaping the gallery’s form, creating a window into the vortex of her own time.


Alia Ahmad
1996. Lives and works in Riad, Saudi Arabian.