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GNYP Gallery has the great pleasure in presenting the first solo exhibition of the Iranian artist Habib Farajabadi (b. 1982). For the Berlin show Mono Extreme the artist has made works in which he addresses the idea of a paradox in the form of the endless starting point.
During the painting process Farajabadi allows himself to be led by a combination of conscious and involuntary actions. By creating such an openness to the unknown he trusts to come across a meaning, which might occur sporadically and unexpectedly, instead of systematically searching for it. For Farajabadi, his paintings origin from his rich unconsciousness that might be universal and carry therefore a certain timelessness. He believes that there are some things in life that seem to exist beyond the boundaries of time. At the same time however, his works reflect also the world outside, although understood in Schopenhauer sense of the world as representation and not as a given. The paintings presented in Mono Extreme exhibition could be divided in two categories. The first one explores the possibilities of black and white, in the second the artist allows more colors to interfere. Using the all-over composition Farajabadi creates tension through explosions of forceful brushstrokes of acrylic paint on unprimed canvas and powerful concentrations of rudimentary marks, often layered on top of each other. These marks disguise now and then as vague hieroglyphic signs, ancient calligraphy, letters of non-existing alphabet, sometimes suggest a figure. Farajabadi’s sensitive and highly energetic gestural paintings escape any geographical categorizations, but instead relate to recent developments and the history of the medium painting.
Farajabadi spends his days working in his studio in Teheran and communicate his artistic practice through social media, which during the last years have become for him a window to the world. He especially appreciates Instagram, which is based on images only, since this medium gives him an opportunity to display his works in an immediate way that creates an audience. Social media spaces like Instagram function beyond the geographical and political boundaries of countries, which has a great significance for an artist working in Iran.
Habib Farajabadi uses all sorts of tools to compose his acrylics; things such as nails, wood stock, forks and hair brush, without ever dispensing the regular paint brush. Now and then, these marks suggest something like hieroglyphic signs, ancient calligraphies, letters of a non-existing alphabet. Farajabadi works on both sides of the canvas, even if much of the surface is left raw and visible. Where there is a conscious choice of using color, he’s not economical: the artist often prefers bright, strident tones. His acrylic brushstrokes remind, in their texture and ludic colors, childish chalk; either that or the canvas is taken by a dark atmosphere. The color black is always present; sometimes as dominating hue, others supporting a colorful composition—something even more present in the rawness of his drawings.
Also a sculptor, Farajabadi works mainly with wood and plywood, on which additional elements are incorporated, creating sometimes a contrast between the colorful bodies of his pieces and its menacing heads. Habib Farajabadi was born in 1982 in Iran and he lives and works in Tehran.
Photo: courtesy of the artist.