A collaboration between Assar and Bavan galleries, Absence is the first exhibition of a series to be held at various praised associate galleries during Assar's provisional state of relocating.
In his second solo show with Assar, Pooya Razi exhibits his most recent paintings created in the past nine months, after he decided not to exhibit Street, the collection on which he had worked for two years since 2020 to be exhibited in November 2022 at Assar Art Gallery before the recent upheavals in Iran.
Conceptually and technically, Absence organically stemmed from the Street series where the artist had tried to tackle his lifelong topic of interest, the relationship between light and shadow through his compositions portraying the people on the streets. During his strolls on the busy streets of downtown Tehran and photographing the people for that purpose, Razi's attention was also drawn to the locked shutters of the shops, signifying the abandoned and desolated spirit of the city as an aftermath of the socio-political unrest. Razi, whose Street series also included a number of smaller paintings of closed shutters, decided to focus on the notion of non-existence or absence, a concept he had socially, intellectually and personally dealt with for a while through the imagery of closed shops and locked shutters.
To him, after the temporary closure of many art galleries as a gesture of solidarity with what was happening on the streets during the time of upheaval, the act of painting itself became more of a means of resistance that could pledge his survival. The closure of many shops, too, had become a sign of the social frustration Razi was working on and therefore best to be metaphorically used as the visual theme for his new collection.
Considered as continuation of his older works where he had doubts about supremacy of creative process over subject matter and vice versa, in Absence, Razi has stepped into the realm of applying a novel painting technique, compared to his older practice, to realize his ultimate desire to find a painterly language that could parallel his personal tone in other artistic mediums he employs as a multidisciplinary artist. The current exhibition consists of five large oil canvases and five smaller works on cardboard.
Press release courtesy Bavan Gallery.