Contemporary Arts Center
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center
for Contemporary Art
44 E. 6th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

513 345 8400


A Permanent Nostalgia for Departure

A rehearsal on legacy with Zaha Hadid

22 September

28 January

Exhibition Highlights

Exhibition Details

In 2011 Etel Adnan wrote in an ode to Zaha Hadid, “to discover, in this woman who built a solid rock, a permanent nostalgia for departure. Everything she made seems to always be the day before a departure, a permanent invitation to the imagination, and to the imaginary.” Referring to Baudelaire’s “Invitation to the Voyage,” Adnan's poetic words proposed an understanding of Hadid's oeuvre as an invitation to take a trip. In such a way, this exhibition expands on Adnan's prompt and proposes a take on Zaha Hadid's legacy—not as a conclusive overview, but rather as a point of departure full of possibilities and reflections.

The exhibition reflects on what legacy means. It asks what are the possibilities of actively engaging with the outcome of a creative action? A drawing, a painting, a building, a text, or an idea, once emancipated from the author, opens a range of constantly evolving questions, meanings, and concepts that continue to generate an ecosystem of knowledge.

This exhibition is a take on architectural legacy that transcends a monolithic approach. Rather, it wants to actively use Hadid's architectural thinking as a starting point, as a source of knowledge that can be activated, transferred and evolved. Through site-specific and all-new commissioned works, the show reflects upon the idea of distance in time, history, cultural background, and landscapes, and how a legacy can become a passageway for it.

The participating artists are creating new, site-specific works ranging in a diverse set of media that crosses sculpture, installation, textiles, sound, video, or performance and with multiple cultural backgrounds and practices. The list of participating artists includes Rand Abdul Jabbar (b. Baghdad, 1990, currently lives and works in Abu Dhabi), Khyam Allami (b. Damascus, 1981, currently lives and works in Berlin), Emii Alrai (b. Blackpool, 1993, currently lives and works in Leeds), Hera Büyüktaşcıyan (b. Istanbul, 1984), Andrea Canepa (b. Lima, 1980, currently lives and works in Berlin), Zaha Hadid (b. Baghdad, 1950 – d. Miami, 2016), Dima Srouji (b. Nazareth, 1990, currently lives and works in London) and Hamed Bukhamseen (b. Kuwait City, 1991) and Ali Ismail Karimi (b. Manama, 1989) as founders of Civil Architecture Studio.

The exhibition also brings a selection of paintings and ephemera by Zaha Hadid that depict the unique aesthetic regime the architect created. These selections highlight the early stages of Hadid’s process, bringing back a vocabulary that—far from any built project—preserves full potentiality to keep expanding.

This exhibition itself is a key part of the celebration of 20th anniversary of the construction of the Zaha Hadid-designed Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art.

20 Years: Open to Interpretation


DaSci Consulting Group
Landscape Section, Knowlton School, The Ohio State University
Direction, Knowlton School, The Ohio State University
Barbara Myers
Michele & Michael Schuster
Rosemary & Mark Schlachter
Barbara Weston Sasser and Carol Weston Roberts
Western & Southern Financial Group
Zaha Hadid Foundation


Eco Development
Julie & Steve Shifman
Ohio State University Knowlton School (Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture Paula Meijerink; Students in Landscape Architecture: Ashish Adhikari, Saeed Alhusaiki, Elsie Almodovar-Reyes, Meg Bender, Kangni Chen, Harrison Garden, Varun Gulavane, Bilwa Gulavani, Mugdha Mallareddy, Pranav Naukudkar, Saeed Piracha, Spencer See, Oscar Zixin Zeng)
School of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati (Farhat Afzal, Fatemah Alabdulrazaq, Edwina Bimpong, Reagan Bown, Marianne Cadio, Atira Forest, James Hummeldorf, Peter Loayza, Jumana Naser, Michael Rinaldi-Eichenberg, Raghib Shahid, Joyce Zheng, Isaah Zuercher)
Zaha Hadid Foundation

Annual exhibition support is provided by Gale and Dave Beckett, Belflex and Jason McCaw, Barbara Weston Sasser and Carol Weston Roberts, Ronnie and John Shore, Helen and Brian Heekin, Barbara Myers and the generous contributors to the CAC Exhibition Fund. General operating support for the CAC is provided by ArtsWave, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, P&G Fund, and the Johnson Foundation.

Thought-provoking and reflective exhibitions like these happen thanks to the support of generous patrons. Speak with a member of our Development Team to learn more about how you can support bringing art to all people.

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Curated by

Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, Guest Curator

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