Selected Artists - 16° Drawing Prize

Mehrdad Rashidi

Through figures incessantly multiplied and evocations of landscapes or seascapes, Mehrdad Rashidi conjures up memories of his native Iran, mixed with poems and musical references, hovering between hope and nostalgia. At first glance, the subjects handled are not immediately evident, even though one sees several faces, of veiled women in particular, as well as hybrid creatures, birds, views and architecture. Rashidi uses tiny unbroken circles forming lines to build his universes, not only working in small formats but also stretches of paper up to several metres wide. Thus, as in a story within a story or a contemporary game of consequences, he charts a narrative in his flowery language, gradually unfolding the sheet of paper. Other supports include pages from books or maps, which act as hosts for the themes that provide the keys to the artist’s life history. Iran, the land that he fled so long ago, remains omnipresent in his thoughts. He follows the country’s current affairs, listens to its music and adds written phrases to his slender lines. They may come from his favourite authors, Forough Farrokhzad and Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, or poems he himself started writing at the age of eight. In addition to this awareness and knowledge of events, which sometimes lead him to reflections on solitude and disillusion, Rashidi injects the poetry of natural plant and animal life. While his early drawings berated the Iranian regime propelled to the bottom of the Caspian Sea or lauded a woman about to give birth to a new generation proclaiming its freedom, today he devotes his energy more to a search for unity with nature. What is important is that the light emerges from the darkness, which the artist symbolises by a concentration of black ink, contrasting with the white space left on the paper. Rashidi wants his work to speak for itself, like a musical symphony that acts on our feelings with no explanation necessary. Adopting the precepts of the prophet Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrianism circa 1000 BC, he adheres to this celebration of all living creatures and places animals on a level with humankind. So when the noise of the city seems too deafening, he sets off to the forest not far from his home and takes refuge amidst the trees, whose bark he occasionally uses as a support for his drawings…

(text Marie Maertens).

Techniques mixtes sur papier de récupération
Courtesy Henry Boxer Gallery, Richmond
Dimensions  11.6 x 17.7 cm
collection Florence et Daniel Guerlain
crédit photo André Morin 

Techniques mixtes sur papier de récupération
Courtesy Henry Boxer Gallery, Richmond
Dimensions  17.8 x 11.4 cm
collection Florence et Daniel Guerlain
crédit photo André Morin 

Techniques mixtes sur papier de récupération
Courtesy Henry Boxer Gallery, Richmond
Dimensions 23.7 x 15 cm
collection Florence et Daniel Guerlain
crédit photo André Morin

Techniques mixtes sur papier de récupération
Courtesy Henry Boxer Gallery, Richmond
Dimensions 17.8 x 12.3 cm
collection Florence et Daniel Guerlain
crédit photo André Morin 

Techniques mixtes sur papier de récupération
Courtesy Henry Boxer Gallery, Richmond
Dimensions 11.8 x 7.8.cm
collection Florence et Daniel Guerlain
crédit photo André Morin