Orientophobia is a very large scale drawing-based installation bringing together a whole body of work made by Nazir Tanbouli in the period between July 2012 and January 2013. The large ink on paper drawings were conceived not as artworks but as separate exercises, each one “replies” to the other. They are brought together as one artwork by this installation, which is more than the sum of its parts.
What is Orientophobia? The word means “fear of the East”. Egyptian-born Tanbouli notes that “on the one hand I suppose am an “Eastern person” but on the other, that is not important.” It is Tanbouli's method and approach to drawing that moves beyond the “Western” art tradition of overly conscious harmonies that essentially are designed to fit together.
“I've been doing what I call meditational drawing all my life, but I only became conscious that this is what I'm doing over the last three years. Meditational drawing means that it's not about ideas; I don't draw ideas. I draw as a daily practice, for hours each day, and the aim of this practice is to achieve stability and harmony in myself by creating stability and harmony on the paper. What pictures come out of it, what subject matter, this is something else. I allow the drawing to flow out of me, out of the physical act of the body, and in that process the subject matter appears.”
Orientophobia is equally transformative, a dramatic explosion of ink, black and white marks on massive sheets of paper, consuming the gallery with vibrating points of energy.