Influential and distinctive artist Farshid Maleki’s new exhibition more than amply demonstrates why this artist’s influence runs so deeply and significantly through successive generations of Persian artists.
Raw, exuberant, sad, impulsive – Maleki’s work exudes dynamism and energy, borne of the artist’s honed focus and emotional frankness. This new collection of works on paper emphatically asserts the artist’s creative eminence and force. Maleki’s radical style is not so much as defined by content but rather, the ritualistic gesture of drawing itself. The overlapping of hundreds lines and colours of magic markers shape characters in states of perpetual metamorphosis, originating from the artist’s own mythology. Vast, plain-coloured spaces are rudely thwarted by complicated networks and graffiti-like textures that eventually reveals defiant and distorted forms. Figures lour and retreat across the canvas, urgently-drawn, vivid characters are refracted through the prism ofMaleki’s imagination. Some of these faces are drawn from real-life, from the artist’s everyday life, some are abstracted representations of pure emotion.
The fluidity of the gesture employed, the lightness of touch and energy contained within these drawings, appear to reach towards automatic writing. His use of repetition instills a meditative quality, while the dynamic combinations and interaction of his elements; multi-headed levitating figures, lost bicycles, incongruous striped birds and animals, hands and feet without arms or legs – constantly presents myriad possibilities through his narratives.
Through the recurring themes and richly-textured interplay of elements omnipresent in his work,Maleki’s oeuvre describes a distinct reality whose central preoccupation is of a man’s relationship to his world.
Born in 1943 in Tehran, Farshid Maleki graduated in Graphic Design from Azad Faculty of Art, Tehran before attending the University of Reading in the UK to obtain his MA in painting. Since his return to Iran, Maleki has been a teacher at universities in Tehran and Isphahan, encouraging young artists to overcome convention and challenge themselves.
Maleki has been exhibiting in Iran throughout his career. He participated in all seven Tehran Painting Biennales, and has had work acquired by the Tehran Museum for Contemporary Art. A respected critic, he has often contributed articles to art publications. In 2009, he participated in New York Thomas Erben Gallery’s exhibition ‘Looped and Layered’, as well holding his UAE solo debut at Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde.
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