In his first solo Los Angeles show in over two decades, New York artist Izhar Patkin, will début “The Dead Are Here” (2009), a room wrapped with 14’ tall wall size paintings in ink on tulle curtains. These dream like paintings tread the boundaries between illusion and reality. They are part of a collaboration, which began in 1999 between Israeli born Patkin and the late revered Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali.
A comprehensive survey of Patkin’s work, and his visionary collaboration with Ali is scheduled to open in the Tel Aviv Museum in June 2012 and continue to MASS MoCA in 2013.
The Dead Are Here is the 13th chapter in Shahid's elegy, "From Another Desert." It tells the Arabic love story of Laila and Majnoon. “Majnoon” whose name means "possessed" or "mad" sacrificed everything for Love.
Patkin weaves Ali’s poem of love and loss into a painting reminiscent of Fragonard’s Progress of Love, and of Patkin’s own breakthrough work “The Black Paintings” (1985/86) in the collection of MOMA, and his first tulle painting “The Meta Bride” (1983) in the Whitney collection.
Patkin’s ethereal veils challenge not only the physical conventions of painting, canvas, murals, installation and even video projection – but also the conventions of visual expression itself: abstraction, representation and manifestation. Patkin sees the three as fundamentally rooted in the illusive vocabulary of our religious doctrines: monotheistic, iconic and pagan. From the start of their cross-cultural collaborative journey, Patkin and Ali decided that the Jew and the Muslim would meet on the veil.
Also included in the show is a porcelain sculpture Patkin made at the legendary Sevres Porcelain manufacturer in Paris, entitled: “Time Clipping the Wings of Love” (2009/11). The sculpture is a based on a 19th century erotic timepiece but its actual clock is missing, leaving a hole. Both the sculpture and the perforated tulle netting become one.
To quote from Itamar Levi’s recent essay “The Dream Corps”:
“Patkin works with the anguish of our voices … his metaphors and his images are a painting of a dream threatened with oblivion and evaporation. For a moment, he weaves together love and longing, fear and wonderment, mirth and calamity, the sorrow of loss and the joy of creation.”
Izhar Patkin has exhibited internationally at the Venice Biennale, Italy; Sao Paulo, Brazil; The Whitney Biennial, New York; the Tel Aviv Museum, Israel; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Yokohama Museum, Japan; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana among many others. His work is in the collection of LACMA, Los Angeles; Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMA New York; Whitney Museum, New York; Tel Aviv Museum, Israel among several others.
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