The Iranian artist Golnaz Fathi began to experiment with abstract art forms as a means of escaping the rigours and constraints of a formal training in calligraphy.

In this work, what at first sight appear to be layers of inscriptions made in Persian Calligraphy , reveal themselves on closer inspection to be abstract, gestural strokes – never quite forming into discernible letters. In places smudged, partly obliterated, or seeming to wander off, trailing over the edges of the canvas, they are open to interpretation by anyone, irrespective of language or identity, and can be read on many different levels. In a political climate where many artists must employ caution in portraying the regime under which they live, a great deal of contemporary Iranian art attempts to bury meaning in layered symbolism. This painting epitomises such a way of working. It is dense with potential meanings and interpretive possibilities, evoking very personal readings and responses. This painting will form the centre of a new collection of work by Iranian artists, brought together to form a central narrative - Iranian Identity in art: bridging the traditional and the contemporary – which is being featured in the new World Stories: Young Voices gallery opening at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery in June 2012.


The artist.

Back to top