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Farsad Labbauf | From My East to Your West 30 Gansevoort Street, New York September 13 – October 28, 2018 Opening Reception: September 13, 5 – 8 pm
!BLANK SPACE is proud to present a series of new paintings by Iranian artist Farsad Labbauf in what will be his second solo exhibition with the gallery. This exhibition marks an elaboration on the artist’s past series and a deepening of both his personal story and conceptual message of cross-cultural identity. From My East to Your West will be on view at BLANK SPACE from September 13 to October 28, with an opening reception on September 13 from 5 to 8 pm.
! The inspiration behind most of Labbauf’s recent paintings is found in the iconic images that surrounded him as a child, while growing up in Tehran in the 1970s. This landscape was a complete melange of eastern and western inﬂuences and informed his sensibilities as a youth. While there was a constant presence of the western world streaming through various sources such as television, comic books, toys, etc. there was also a continuous ﬂow and exposure to various Persian arts such as calligraphy, miniature painting, tile works, poetry, etc. both at home and in academic life. To create this new series, he has extracted elements from sources mentioned above and overlapped them in his linear ﬁgurative painting style to create hybrid images.
! In an earlier work from 2016, ‘Oh, Sweet Bitter World’, Labbauf portrays Kim Jong Un and Bugs Bunny together atop the North Korean leader’s submarine. At ﬁrst glance, these characters seem to belong not only to separate dimensions but also diﬀerent universes. They come together on the same plane to play an intricate dance of hide and seek and weave an open narrative about their speculative roles. Jong Un appears in the foreground, surveying what lies ahead in his submarine just as it has risen while Bugs (symbolizing the western power) stands leisurely and reassured in the background enjoying his carrot. Works such as ‘In The Light Of Your Shadow’ and ‘The Unwritten History of Stains’ reexamine the role and inﬂuence of Western entertainment in producing commercial icons such as comic book Superheroes. “Subversive and subliminal, these characters act as products who inﬁltrate global culture and at times help shape dark histories by creating an atmosphere of disdain for one’s personal and national history in exchange for all that is foreign and seductive in the animated West.” states Labbauf. The removal of Iran’s Prime Minister Dr. Mossadegh from power in 1953 by the CIA (under an operation titled: AJAX) is used as a direct subject for these works to depict such inﬂuences.
! Farsad Labbauf is an artist living and working in the New York area. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and a second degree in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design. His paintings have been featured in more than sixty group shows across the globe, including Saatchi Gallery in London and Ex Aurum Museum in Pescara, Italy, in addition to solo exhibitions in New York, Boston, Amsterdam, Tehran and Esfahan Museum of Contemporary Art. Labbauf's work can be found in numerous public and private collections including The Salsali Museum, Dubai, Saatchi Gallery in London, Carsten de Boer Art Collection, Amsterdam and Museum of Contemporary Art in Esfahan.
On the occasion of his first Washington DC solo exhibition, “Naturescape”, Farman-Farmaian will show 15 works on paper and recycled cardboard presenting his Blueberry series, which is the central segment of his Naturescape project. Presented alongside a video installation, the exhibition illustrates the origin of his Abstract Organic phase (2015-2018), the result of his intensifying connection to the natural world..
Born in Teheran in 1973, Firouz Farman-Farmaian is a contemporary Persian artist. After the Islamic Revolution, he fled to Paris where he studied architecture and visual arts. During this period, he started working with various media, including paint, print, sculpture, film and music. shown at the Marrakech museum and various art centers throughout Spain.
Important subjects in Farman Farmaian’s work are identity, nature, architectonics and the interplay between realism and abstraction. History and memory are featured prominently in the work of Tehran-born artist Firouz, whose lifetime of living in exile in Paris, France profoundly influenced both his creative practice and individual character. "It is circumstance that ultimately shapes lives," says the artist, whose work seeks to actively engage in a dialogue with the past. As such, his compositions possess a vivacious and spontaneous energy, as well as a deeply symbolic quality, which speaks to a multiplicity of currents in politics, art and philosophy.
Rooted in Persian lore, and focused on themes of nature, architectonics and the interplay between realism and abstraction, Farman-Farmaian's diverse body of work is united by common motifs of movement and texture. The raw and visceral emotion of his pieces is tempered by their material properties, which are strongly rooted in a resolute emphasis on craftsmanship. Each work is the result of careful contemplation of the techniques and tools that will achieve a singular aesthetic and emotional intention. These in turn are deftly combined to create a unique visual rhythm across a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, film and music.
Farman-Farmaian currently has his studio and artist-run gallery in Marbella, Spain. He has had exhibitions and has created installations and performances, shown internationally in galleries and institutions worldwide.
“The natural world has from the origins been central to my approach of artistic practice. I have from childhood developed a meditative/contemplative relation to the elements, that I have later sought to translate with paint, sculpture or installations. Nature has always been my true experimental space.
Theneon, the Naturescape project has had a pivotal role. At that crossroad, I spent the summer of 2015 in retreat in my wife’s Finnish cabin. The dense glacier-era geology, the richness of the underwood, the radiant luminescence of Nordic skies all came together to incite a new creative dynamic.
The project grew to present itself as a multi-platform experiment taking its roots in the paper studies I developed in Finland. I studied and reworked my approach to painting as my connection to the natural world progressively intensified. This in fine allowed me to operate a transition from an architectonic based abstraction to an organic one. In this instance, I liberated my line and opened the way to the creation of a new visual vocabulary.”
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