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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Golnaz Fathi

b. 1972, Iran

Golnaz Fathi is a contemporary Iranian artist recognised for her reinterpretations of traditional Persian calligraphy. While most known for her pen- or acrylic-on-canvas works characterised by intricate lines and gestural brush strokes, she also engages with other media, including LED light and video installations.

Born in 1972 in Tehran, Fathi came of age in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution (1978-1979) and Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). From such tumult she has developed a practice consisting of contemplative work that often offers a sense of stillness and harmony. In the 1990s, while studying graphic design at Tehran's Azad University, she developed a fascination with traditional Persian calligraphy, and went on to receive a diploma from the Iranian Society of Calligraphy. She is one of the few female Iranian artists to have been formally trained in calligraphy. The field remains heavily dominated by men.

Seeking to expand the discipline's traditional boundaries, Fathi utilises a technique based on siah-mashq—an exercise where a calligrapher writes repeatedly until the paper is covered with black ink. The artist similarly envelops her canvases in black pools that, upon closer inspection, are revealed to be thin, interwoven lines. When she paints, her brush strokes evoke the gestural marks found in American Abstract Expressionism or Persian script. They are, in fact, illegible. This allows the audience to devise their own meanings and she seldom titles her work in order to maintain this openness.

While her paintings are open to interpretation, Fathi also responds to contemporary concerns. The works included in her solo exhibition Falling Leaves at The Third Line, Dubai, in 2013, for example, are based on Shahnameh, an epic Persian poem written by Ferdowsi between circa 977 and 1010. By combining figurative lithographic illustrations with calligraphic strokes, she draws parallels between the futility of wars in Shahnameh and present-day conflicts in Iran and the Middle East at large.

Fathi also experiments with three-dimensional and digital media. An untitled Plexiglas box from 2013 is lit by LED lights, revealing grids of soft undulating ines against a black background. In 2014, the artist exhibited her videos, Let's Blow Them Away and Dance Me to the End of Night, in which her trademark gestural lines come to life. She explored unconventional supports in 2018, painting on aluminium composite panels with their corners and other sections laser-cut away. Such untitled works were included in her solo presentation Let's Pretend Everything is Alright at Sundaram Tagore New York, in 2019.

Selected solo exhibitions include A Long Line Without a Word, Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai (2018); Contemplations, Sundaram Tagore Singapore (2016); and Dance Me to the End of Night, October Gallery, London (2014). Group shows include Frontiers Reimagined, a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); and The Decorated Word: Writing and Picturing in Islamic Calligraphy, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019). Her works are in the collections of the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore; the British Museum, London; Brighton & Hove Museum; Carnegie Mellon University, Doha; The Farjam Foundation, Dubai; the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art; among others.

Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Golnaz Fathi contemporary artwork
Golnaz FathiUntitled, 2018 Mixed media on pvc
60 x 45 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Untitled by Golnaz Fathi contemporary artwork
Golnaz FathiUntitled, 2018 Mixed media on pvc
60 x 45 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Untitled by Golnaz Fathi contemporary artwork
Golnaz FathiUntitled, 2018 Mixed media on pvc
60 x 45 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Untitled by Golnaz Fathi contemporary artwork
Golnaz FathiUntitled, 2018 Mixed media on pvc
60 x 45 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Untitled (diptych) by Golnaz Fathi contemporary artwork
Golnaz FathiUntitled (diptych), 2018 Mixed media on composite with neon light
150 x 220 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Untitled (diptych) by Golnaz Fathi contemporary artwork
Golnaz FathiUntitled (diptych), 2018 Mixed media on composite with neon light
170 x 180 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Untitled by Golnaz Fathi contemporary artwork
Golnaz FathiUntitled, 2014 Acrylic, pen and varnish on canvas
146 x 128 x 5 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Untitled by Golnaz Fathi contemporary artwork
Golnaz FathiUntitled, 2017 Acrylic, pen and varnish on canvas
40 x 60 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Golnaz Fathi, Let’s Pretend Everything is All Right at Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York
Open Now
14 November–14 December 2019 Golnaz Fathi Let’s Pretend Everything is All Right Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Chelsea, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Singapore Summer Show at Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Singapore
Closed
13 June–10 August 2019 Group Exhibition Singapore Summer Show Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Singapore
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Women's Work at Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Singapore
Closed
18 January–2 March 2019 Group Exhibition Women's Work Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Singapore

Represented By

In Related Press

Highlights from the seventh edition of Art Stage Singapore Related Press Highlights from the seventh edition of Art Stage Singapore The National : 18 January 2017

‘Contemporary art is not a decoration, it is a statement. It is a wonderful ­seismograph of our societies and realities.'These words were part of the opening speech given last week by founder Lorenzo Rudolf at the seventh edition of Art Stage Singapore in the South-east Asian island city.Rudolf, from Switzerland, has made it his mission to...

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Observing 'In Silence' Related Press Observing 'In Silence' RanDian : 30 August 2016

Every year, for a single day, the island of Bali grinds to a halt. No planes thunder overhead, and its bustling beaches lie empty. The streets are deserted, and Bali’s residents are all indoors, meditating or even fasting. The following day, the new year is celebrated and Bali thrums with energy once more. This single, silent day, Nyepi, has...

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