Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 5, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 200 x 150 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 8, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 170 x 304 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Pages Falling from Shahnameh, the Book of Kings

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 1, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 150 x 200 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 4, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 150 x 200 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 3, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 150 x 200 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 6, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 150 x 200 cm.

 

The Third Line
Warehouse 8 St. 6
Al Quoz 3
+ 971 4 3411367
Dubai
Falling Leaves
Golnaz Fathi

January 23-March 7, 2013

Golnaz Fathi returns to The Third Line gallery with a new body of work Falling Leaves. Using traditional Iranian calligraphy and the epic poem Shahnameh by Persian poet Ferdowsi as a point of departure,

Fathi interprets the work through a contemporary lens that breathes new life into an ancient practice and story.

A trained calligrapher, Fathi has the ability to skillfully transform known language into form and composition.

Shifting from the stringent rules of the calligraphic discipline, she soon found artistic solace in a new form of expression in her paintings: an imaginary language deeply rooted in Persian tradition while simultaneously hinting at a social renaissance.

This new series revolves around the seminal Iranian text of the Shahnameh as its central theme.

The Shahnameh or Shah-nama (Book of Kings) is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 AD and is the national epic of Iran and related societies.

The work represented branches out from her usual approach, incorporating instead figurative elements that were inspired from a lithographic illustration of the poem.

This distinct departure from her original text based exploration demonstrates Fathi’s inner visual dialogue and interpretation of the poem. The artist relates to the book themes of futile wars as still relevant today in her native Iran, and in the Middle East in general — confirming the notion of history repeating itself.

About Golnaz Fathi Fathi has exhibited in a number of international shows, including at The Art of Writing, Art Forum of Wiesbaden, Germany (2011); Transvangarde, Contemporary Art from Around the World, October Gallery, London, UK (2011); Ride Like the Wind, Sultan Gallery, Kuwait (2010) and participated in the International Woman Artists’ Biennial, South Korea (2009).

Fathi received the Young Global Leader 2011 award and her works are housed in the collections of Brighton & Hove Museum, England; Carnegie Mellon University, Doha, Qatar; Asian Civilization’s Museum, Singapore; The British Museum, London; Museum of Islamic Art, Malaysia; and Farjam Collection, Dubai. She currently lives and works in Tehran, Iran.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 7, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 200 x 150 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 2, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 200 x 150 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled 9, 2012, Mixed Media on Canvas, 170 x 304 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled drawing 1, 2010, Mixed media on paper, 56 x 76 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Lightbox (19), 2010, Print and lightbox, 50 x 70cm, Ed. of 4, 1 AP.

'Illegible' Calligraphy Manifesting a Struggle between Line and Form

The Third Line
Al Quoz 3
+ 9714 341 1367
Dubai
Controlled Chaos
September 23-October 21, 2010

Golnaz Fathi’s new works balance colour and layers of text in an exploration of an illegible calligraphic language. Through her distinctly personalized style, she continues to demonstrate her dexterity using the simplicity of the line.

For her fourth solo exhibition at The Third Line and beginning the fall season, Fathi will present a selection of light boxes and works on paper. She began working with light boxes in 2007 while seeking an alternative to her previous works on canvas. This exhibition also sees her return to working on paper, a medium which offers a sense of vulnerability as the brushes stroke the surface of the blank paper.

Continuing her practice of expressive calligraphic forms, Fathi constantly blurs the lines between the legible and illegible. Her work incorporates script that has been perfected on two levels, both the painterly range of strokes and gestures, and the technical mastery of line.

 

Having recently re-introduced colour into her predominantly black and white palette, these mixed-media drawings present bold and fine brush strokes of unreadable text color. Loud splashes of yellow, red and blue serve as a focal base overlapping and selectively concealing thick lines and frenzied scribbles. The dramatic addition of colour and contrasting forms creates a constant visual struggle.

The drawings in turn serve as detailed studies for her light boxes — a unique medium through which Fathi expresses her calligraphic technique. The fine lines are framed by the boldness of the black box as the glow of letters and forms emerge into a strangely still frenzy of movement. The elements of colour and form, movement and calm interweave into an imposing relationship of aesthetic balance and divided energy. The resulting works contain a raw beauty — a silver lining amongst the chaos.

A trained calligrapher, Fathi has the ability to skillfully transform known language into form and composition. Having discovered calligraphy while studying graphic design at Tehran’s Azad University, she later left to train at the Calligraphy Association of Iran for six years. As a result Fathi was the first woman to win an award for Ketabat (a genre of calligraphy). She soon tired of the discipline’s rules and regulations and thus created a new form of expression in her paintings: an imaginary language deeply rooted in Persian tradition while simultaneously hinting at a social renaissance.

Her paintings carry traces of meaning that have no known coded alphabet. The strength of her work stems from the drive to express emotions that cannot be pinned down into words; Fathi's works succeeds where language fails. She has exhibited in a number of international shows, recently at October Gallery, London; Farjam Collection, Dubai; Chelsea Art Museum, New York, and participated in the International Woman Artists’ Biennial, South Korea (2009). Fathi currently lives and works in Iran.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled drawing 3, 2010, Mixed media on paper, 56 x 76 cm.

Golnaz Fathi, Lightbox (21), 2010, Print and lightbox, 50 x 70 cm, Ed. of 4, 1 AP.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2008, Acrylic and Pen on Canvas, 120 x 120 cm, Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line.

Exploring the Aesthetic, mediumistic boundaries of Arabic Calligraphy

Golnaz Fathi, Qabbani Portraits, 2006.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, Acrylic on Canvas, 2006.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2008.

 

The Third Line
Al Quoz 3
Dubai, UAE
+ 9714 341 1367
Sleepless Nights
By Golnaz Fathi

May 28-June 22, 2008

Firmly anchored in extensive training in traditional calligraphy, Fathi has for over fifteen years now been perfecting the ability of script to communicate meaning away from its actual referent.

In Sleepless Nights, Golnaz Fathi delves into the flexibility of Arabic calligraphic script, and its varied applications, with a thick brush, fine pen or bright white lines of light.

As the words are vacated from their meaning, their forms take to the forefront and are charged with emotive potential. However, whereas her previous works included bright reds, blues and yellows competing with the speckled script, simple blocks of black and white now dominate the stream of words.

As part of the artist’s continued exploration, Fathi constantly reinvents her bag of painterly tricks. She has moved from a "layering and searching methodology" in her earlier works, to drastically editing her approach and resolving for a single strategically placed gesture — much like a highly controlled action painter. In this most work, Fathi has moved towards much smaller, more invested and obsessive types of mark making.

The traditional modes of practicing calligraphy are still referenced as entire surfaces turn black with scribbles, known as the Siah Mashgh approach. This practice was originally a warm up exercise for the calligrapher to refine the shape of letters by repeating them over and over.

These applications thus resulted in the page being filled with words and letters, hence the name Siah Mashgh literally meaning “Black Practice."

Fathi is concerned with perfecting language on two levels: that of the painterly range of gestures and that of the actual script. Both languages have been able to interweave complimentarily through her works.

Sleepless Nights, has derived the notion of spontaneity from Golnaz’s work. She has given up on the idea of getting it ‘just right’ with one motion and opted for a much more time based approach.

The meditative aspects of her ‘scribbles’ are inherently based on the passing of time. Highly labour intensive, her new works create textures, surfaces and tensions all through the simple and incessant repetition of lines. Framed by the boldness of the blacks and whites, the essence of the words and the letters dissolve into a strangely still frenzy of movement.

More complex in its ability to convey meaning, Sleepless Nights is just that: an introverted and pensive form of communication that holds within it open-ended forms of emotion.

A trained calligrapher, Fathi has turned the literary art-form on its head by skillfully transforming known language into form and composition.

She first discovered calligraphy while studying graphic design at Tehran’s Azad University, which she later left to train for six years at the Calligraphy Association of Iran.

Practicing the script for over seven hours a day eventually paid off — she was the first woman to win an award for ketabat (a genre of calligraphy) — but she soon tired of the discipline’s rules and regulations.

Hence, she created a new form of expression in her paintings; an imaginary language deeply rooted in Persian tradition while simultaneously hinting at a social renaissance.

Fathi has exhibited extensively across the globe, including works in the most recent Word into Art: Modern Artists of the Middle East show at the British Museum.

Her work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally at such venues as La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art, Bahrain; The Third Line, Dubai, UAE; Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture de Neuilly, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France; Galerie L’oeil du Huit, Paris, France; Golestan Gallery, Tehran, Iran; Grand Palais, Paris, France; O’Melveny Gallery, Los Angles, USA; Espace SD, Beirut, Lebanon; Elga Wimmer Gallery, New York City, NY, USA; Lo Sguardo Di Luce, Padova, Italy; Azteca Gallery, Madrid, Spain.

Golnaz lives and works in Iran.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2008, Acrylic and Pen on Canvas, 120 x 120 cm, Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line.