Thinking Is a Form Of Feeling And Feeling Is A Form Of Thinking Fragments of memory appear out of thin air and disappear without a trace. Visual artist and performer Fatima Moallim (b. 1992, living and working in Stockholm and Paris) continually experiences nostalgia for the ‘90s. Although this longing doesn’t necessarily correlate with the transition into the internet era nor with pivotal moments of pop culture and grunge aesthetics, it embodies a sentiment that may not yet be tangible; one that must be triggered by observations, the moving hand, or drawn forms.

Moallim continues to use a specific BIC brand ballpoint pen from that time, which comes in four colours—green, blue, red, and black—and still defines her colour palette. Cynically enough, BIC’s promotion relies on a sense of individuality as “a pen that understands you” and is “[p]erfect for when you need to instantly shift to a different part of who you are.” [1] The artist is clearly looking for a different kind of authenticity here, dedicating her drawings to the immediate, the spontaneous, the abstracted, and, in particular, to that which has not yet fully been thought through. Working with a pen or a linoleum surface like the kind she used to draw with/on in her childhood enables her to access a transgenerational heritage shaped by migration, alienation, and uncertainty.

Through revisiting these memories, Moallim creates psychograms on paper, giving way to becoming more independent of any aesthetic or moral preoccupation. She takes a concentrated look inward, therefore following the original meaning of ‘intuition’ as an “act of contemplating” (from the late Latin word intuition, –intuitio) [2], but without falling into the “imprisoning stereotypes and polarities of culture” like the intuition vs. intellect binary questioned by Susan Sontag: “One of my oldest crusades is against the distinction between thought and feeling, which is really the basis of all anti-intellectual views: the heart and the head, thinking and feeling, fantasy and judgment . . . and I don’t believe it’s true. . . . I have the impression that thinking is a form of feeling and that feeling is a form of thinking.” This last phrase of Sontag’s quote is certainly true of Moallim’s approach, which might best be described as an act of attentive listening that equally challenges reason and intuition without differentiating one from the other.
The way Moallim draws resembles an exercise in self-inspection, where the mundane manifests itself in a sometimes enigmatic, sometimes choreographed visual language. Elements and scenes observed from a window or talked about on the street translate into a broad range of shapes and forms marked directly onto the paper without a preliminary sketch. Like a visual meditation, her imagery captures her surroundings while simultaneously evoking biographical memories of her childhood. The latter, however, is often only named in a second step, where Moallim devotes herself entirely to the drawings, carefully observing them as she articulates titles for them. She and the visitor become co-creators of the drawing’s meaning, as also one of the titles referencing Umberto Eco presupposes: Lector in Fabula (2024).
At [tart vienna], her first presentation in Austria, Moallim aims to create an intimate and personal space vaguely reminiscent of her studio’s atmosphere, sharing both unarticulated ideas and definite stories, and allowing visitors to witness the process of taking on a form.
Text: Theresa Roessler
[1] ‘BIC 4 Colours’, in: 2024. Available at: (Accessed April 17, 2024)
[2] ‘Intuition’, in: 2024. Available at: (Accessed April 17, 2024)
[3] Cott, J. (2013). Susan Sontag – The Complete Rolling Stone Interview (New Haven: Yale University Press).

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