Ahmad Morshedloo: In Sequence

Ahmad Morshedloo: In Sequence

Dubai, United Arab Emirates dimanche 3 mars 2013jeudi 4 avril 2013

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
dimanche 3 mars 2013jeudi 4 avril 2013

Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz is pleased to announce In Sequence by Iranian artist Ahmad Morshedloo from 3 March - 4 April 2013, which marks the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery. In addition to several new works, Morshedloo will present an ambitious installation featuring the artist’s drawings within an immersive setting.

Morshedloo is known for his socially-engaged drawings and paintings that reflect on the ‘layers’ he identifies within contemporary Iranian society. The artist is particularly affected by the sorrow he sees in his native country, considering the censorship and oppression there as a blight on the lives of its citizens. He views his role as an artist as an important one, choosing to make work that is concerned with the plight of the human experience. This he explores through the interactions between people from all walks of life and the relationships they share and endure.

In his exhibition at Ayyam Gallery, a series of large-scale drawings on cardboard will feature in an octagonal installation which can be entered by the viewer, transforming part of the gallery into an interactive viewing space. These pen drawings present a split view of a crowd of people, dividing torsos from legs, faces from feet. Running around the inside of the installation and separating these two layers is a mirrored section reflecting the viewer’s own body and thereby absorbing them into the fragmented composition.

Very few of the subjects populating these scenes address the viewer head-on; eyes are downcast and submissive, despite the fact that the physical scale of the drawings threaten to engulf the viewer. The tightly packed figures do not appear to interact with one another either, instead averting their gaze towards the periphery of the frame. There is no confrontation.

Morshedloo’s skilled use of cross-hatching gives the drawings a rich tonality. At the same time, by stripping his figures of colour these images are made reminiscent of a high contrast newsprint image, giving the impression of witnessing a potentially significant event from afar. The nature of this event remains elusive and the location anonymous – it could be street scene, a gathering of people at a graveside, a protest, or a combination of events forming an imagined tableaux. Morshedloo leaves the viewer to piece together these possible scenarios from visual clues given by the human figures, taken from their stature, clothing and expressions.

With a visual style that intentionally alludes to social realism, his choice of medium also indicates a compulsion to signify a great exertion. His meticulous studies are painstakingly rendered using ballpoint pen, taking many hours to create, indicative of producing things under duress and the inevitable toil of life under a regime. The labour-intensive works seem almost to test the artist’s own resolve yet their compositional complexity is juxtaposed with Morshedloo’s use of utilitarian materials, which are uncomplicated and ubiquitous in everyday life.

Morshedloo states that he ‘wishes to dispel the perception that all artists consider themselves to be intellectuals, and that those viewing the work are the “everyday people”’. This assumed hierarchy troubles him, and for this reason he employs a democratic approach to the group portrait. In his work, nobody is given superior status, there is no superfluous decoration, and each figure remains anonymous.

Born in Mashhad in 1973, Ahmad Morshedloo lives and works in Tehran. His work is housed in several significant private and public collections including at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, the Imam Ali Museum and the Saatchi Collection. Solo exhibitions include Assar Art Gallery, Tehran (2007, 2002); Iranian Artists’ Forum, Tehran (2006, 2004); Tarahan-e Azad Gallery, Tehran (2005, 2001); and Aria Gallery, Tehran (2004, 2003). Selected group exhibitions include The Saatchi Gallery Collection, Lille (2010); Mah Art Gallery, Tehran (2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007); Project B Contemporary Art, Milan (2010); Chelsea Art Museum, New York (2009); F2 Gallery, Beijing (2009); The Saatchi gallery, London (2006); and Pergamon Museum, Berlin (2008).