Ebecho Muslimova’s pen and ink drawings and large-scale paintings center around the artist’s alter ego, Fatebe (pronounced “fat-ē-be”). Perpetually naked, bold, and uninhibited, the cartoon character embraces the world with her amorphous body as she finds herself inserted into endlessly absurd, critical, and at times abject situations, ranging from getting caught in a net, defecating pasta, dropping fruit inside her brain, and swallowing frogs. Through these surreal, logic-defying, and at times obscenely humiliating scenarios, Muslimova explores fears and gendered representations of power.
Fatebe Sister Booth B (2020) is part of a diptych that shows Fatebe attempting to simultaneously devour two ends of a classic American dining booth with her mouth and her vagina. While the artist is renowned for her drawings, this piece showcases her approach to painterly style as well. Working on metal, Muslimova created the image in one seamless session, without making a mistake, exaggerating the gestural quality of her draftsmanship; the hyper-real sofa possesses scale and weight, by contrast. The large-scale Fatebe Sister Booth B shows our heroine reclining on a the red sofa of a dining booth as her contorted mouth stretches open to swallow a second booth. Using Fatebe’s voluminous and elastic body as a performative tool, Muslimova transgresses physical, social, and cultural conventions in this work. “Fatebe doesn’t speak,” says the artist. “Her gestures and her body are her language.”
Ebecho Muslimova (b. 1984, Dagestan, Russia) graduated from Cooper Union, New York, in 2011, and lives and works in New York. Her first institutional solo exhibition was held at the Drawing Center, New York, in 2021. Muslimova’s work is featured in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.