Ketab & Love in the Time of Unrest
XVA Gallery DIFC marks the month of April with an arresting exhibition by Iranian artists Hadieh Shafie and Behrang Samadzadegan musing on the subject of Love.
Inspired by Whirling Dervishes who, through their continuous motion, are searching for beauty and liberation from the body, Hadieh Shafie created the series ‘Ketab’ consisting of thousands of tightly wrapped Farsi scrolls packed together to create concentric motifs. Each piece is simultaneously aesthetically engaging and thought provoking as the brightly colored façade gives way to numerous hidden love messages handwritten onto each scroll.
Shafie explains: ‘In the end the closed circular form of each scroll is a circular book that cannot be opened. The turning of the text around a central core is continuous; it turns and turns in search of meaning, transcendence and infinity.’
Behrang Samadzadegan’s exhibition, entitled ‘Love in the Time of Unrest’ simultaneously depicts hope, regret, optimism and despair. Reflecting on our inability to accept sadness and gloom, the artist fuses the whimsy of contemporary popular culture with appropriated press images that depict terrorism, horror and violence. The curtain of decoration is a thin veil for deeper, more tragic subjects.
‘The world around me is filled with a mixture of these feelings; gloom hidden behind a decorated curtain and smiles that become an image for propaganda and suggest joy and light. And when the gloom reappears from behind the curtain and shows itself beyond the Janus face of our society, we escape to humor and coquetry to make reality endurable. So we alter the reality to make it tolerable. Reality changes color in our hands.