Simeen Farhat, Farideh Lashai, Claudia Meyer and Manal Al Dowayan: coming from various cultural backgrounds they all survey the effectiveness of words, creating aesthetic material forms out of a textual layer. On show also Samira Hodaei and Samira Alikhanzadeh.
Words and their meaning are thought to be culturally specific. Being signifiers they refer to something that may or may not exist in the real world - depending on the nature of the signified - and on the specific language as well as the certain context and person deciphering its meaning. Is language understandable for certain groups only, comprehensible for a few? Or is there still a universal character to the word?
The four artists that have been invited to the group show "Simply Words?" are scrutinizing this question in very different ways. Coming from various cultural backgrounds they all survey the effectiveness of words, creating aesthetic material forms out of a textual layer.
All of the artists, Claudia Meyer, the Swiss artist traveling between Lucerne and Paris, Manal Al Dowayan, a photographer from Saudi-Arabia, Farideh Lashai, an Iranian painter and Simeen Farhat, an artist with a US-Pakistan background, address the manifestation of the written word as it appears in different stages of transformation, expressing itself in many different media.
Simeen Farhat's work speaks about light, production, craft until it becomes clear what the curved pieces are: they are letters. After a very long process, the artist uses the letters to create aesthetically coherent yet expanding objects. The letters are drawn from poems and writings by well-known poets as Rumi, Saadi, Ghalin or Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Transforming their poetic dynamics into aesthetic manifestations the artist's aim is to transfer visual energy to the viewer.
In her large-size paintings, Farideh Lashai combines the meticulousness of a constantly recurring mantra and heavy paint. The small detailed writing can be only seen at a second glance - at first the words seems to be a grey whole. Like the juxtaposition of heaviness and lightness occurring in works of great poets, the use of the written word is a sign for her lyric influence. Inspired by Orhan Pamuk's "My Name Is Red", Farideh Lashai depicts the story oft he tree, which addresses he inherent nature of art in her practice: "I don't want to be a tree; I want to be its meaning."
Claudia Meyer works with fragments of words that are taken from her own texts. She creates layers of sentences, letters, puts them together upside down and, the other way around so that the meaning loses its obvious appearance. The artist addresses the decline of individual handwriting due to the rise of electronic media and decreasing use of the paper as a medium. By creating large formatted works of words, texture, light and energy she reactivates the handwritten word and reclaims individuality.
Manal Al Dowayan is a young artist from Saudi Arabia, dealing with mostly two societal topics that affect her - the city as a place for virtual communication and its inhabitants and the role of the women in a traditional society. Her self-portraits show a sensivity towards herself and the ways women have to choose; ways between work, tradition and passion. The aim to try to position her identity is also evident in Manal Al Dowayans light installations in which she asks for a break to allow herself to get clear about her own path.
Samira Hodaei and Samira Alikhanzadeh - Samira
At first there is only one connecting element, the name Samira. Both artists are Iranian, both are examining the contemporary image of the women. Using found images they both work in the transformation of their subjects in their own particular ways.
In her newest series "Dancing the Sharp Edge" Samira Hodaei shows pictures of women in different postures, dancing, in twisted positions, equipped with knifes. Inspired by paintings of the Qajar Dynasty that are known for their very strong colouring and intense texture on canvas she created her own visual world ‐ one that emerges from the mixture of a traditional approach and the digital adaptation.
In her pictures Hodaei takes over the ornamentation of the Qajar pictures and transfers the fine texture of the points on the canvas in one, especially by herself developed paint technique with glass colour. The tiny rises produce together with the substance of the material a tangible as well as three-dimensional intensity that is experienced even more by the overlapping colours and layers. Hodaei speaks about danger which is manifested in the knife of the subject. Here the dancer stands for the women and the knife for the danger, an omnipresent danger that is able to turn itself against its owner, at any time.
Combining little mirror fragments with found portraits Samira Alikhanzadeh questions our perception of time, of the past, the future and the present. Looking into the little mirrors the viewer might meet his own gaze. In this way he not only becomes part of the artwork but of the past, the world depicted in Alikhanzadeh’s works, itself. By immersing in the past for a little moment impernance becomes visible which is also incresed by the quantity of the depicted.
By visualizing the past she challenges the present: do not look into the mirror for too long.
Image: Simeen Farhat: Before We descend
Opening: 5 February 2012 - 11:00
Arealstrasse 6 (Emmenbrucke) - Luzern
Opening Hours: Thur/Fri 2 - 7 pm, Sat 11 am - 4 pm, and by appointment