Zaha Hadid. The Peak Project, Hong Kong, China (Exterior perspective). 1991

Zaha Hadid The Peak Project, Hong Kong, China (Exterior perspective) 1991

  • Not on view

This painting depicts Hadid’s winning entry in an architectural competition for a private club in the hills of Kowloon, Hong Kong. Hadid proposed to transform the site by excavating the hills, using the removed rock to build artificial cliffs, or “a man-made geology,” in her words. Into this new topography she planned to interject cantilevered beams, shard-like fragments, and other elements that would seem to splinter the structure into its myriad constituent parts, as if subjecting it to some powerful, destabilizing force. The forms appear to hover and float, defying gravity.

Though never built, The Peak is considered to be Hadid’s breakthrough project and a pivotal moment in her investigation of painting as a design tool. Hadid often referred to the lasting impact that Russian Suprematist painters, and in particular Kazimir Malevich, the founding figure of the movement, had on her work. Pushing the traditional boundaries of architectural representation, Hadid’s early paintings and drawings explore the potential of dynamism and distortion by superimposing sharp planar elements and overlaying multiple perspectives. In this case, the interplay of elementary geometric forms and primary colors is transformed into a vigorous spatial composition. First developed during this period of experimentation in the early 1980s, her ideas about “lightness, floating, and fluidity,” as she described them, were recurring references throughout her prolific career.

Publication excerpt from MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)
Additional text

Although primarily known as an architect, Hadid pursued painting as a related practice, deploying her ideas for buildings for visionary ends. With this work, Hadid revisited her Peak Project, the winning design—though never realized—for a private health club in the hills of Kowloon, overlooking Hong Kong. Hadid proposed transforming the site by excavating the rocky hills in order to build artificial cliffs. In her painting she reimagines the topography by interjecting cantilevered beams and shard-like fragments that seem to splinter the structure into its myriad parts, as if it had been subjected to some powerful destabilizing force. In dissecting landscape and structure into geometric forms and suggesting multiple viewpoints at once, Hadid reveals her interest in Russian Constructivism and Cubism, while the composition of fractured geometries demonstrates an approach known as "deconstructivist architecture."

Gallery label from 2017.
Medium
Synthetic polymer on paper mounted on canvas
Dimensions
51 x 72" (129.5 x 182.9 cm)
Credit
David Rockefeller, Jr. Fund
Object number
108.1992
Copyright
© 2021 Zaha Hadid
Department
Architecture and Design

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].