What is the description of this artwork?
This installation is by a Moroccan born artist named Mounir Fatmi and it is called, "Maximum Sensation." The textiles you see are contemporary copies of traditional prayer rugs that you can buy at Moroccan markets. The combination of skateboarding culture and prayer rugs made as commodity makes a certain point important to all of Fatmi's work. As he writes in his artist statement: My work "deals with the desecration of religious object, deconstruction and the end of dogmas and ideologies."
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Why are the skateboards placed in this particular order?
This was actually just a choice by the curator and artist based on how they looked best in this particular space. It has been installed differently when it was shown elsewhere.
(We have some images of the piece being shown in galleries where they are clustered much more closely together in a circle with them all touching.)
I loved the combination of the very American skateboards with the (Eastern?) rugs.
This installation is from a Moroccan-born artist Mounir Fatmi, who resides in Paris. The fabrics used here to cover the skateboards are actually contemporary copies of prayer rugs that you can buy at the market. It speaks to the globalization of skateboard culture. Interestingly, this is part of a larger installation, and there are more skateboards that are part of this piece that are not on view.
My question is about "Maximum Sensation." Why did the artist use 50 skateboards?
The meaning behind the amount of skateboards is up to interpretation. Interestingly the skateboards you see in the gallery are actually not the entire work. The artist actually did use a total of 50 but I believe there are fewer than 50 shown in "Diverse Works," to fit the available space. The curators may have chosen them for a variety of colors and patterns.