Running Out Of Surface
Delgosha Gallery proudly presents Zahra Mahmoudkhani’s second solo exhibition, “Running Out of Surface”
The simplicity and the simplification of Mahmoudkhani’s paintings are results of trial and error coupled with persistence. Much like early 8-bit video games, both in their formation and the lengthy process of loading images. Three decades before processors could load images instantaneously, we had to wait for the image to take shape before our eyes. We can see a penitence of that same nature in Mahmoudkhani’s paintings. The image begins forming slowly and moves towards completion, and stops in the final square it fills. It moves from the top-right of the frame to the bottom-left, which highlights an intersection between Mahmoudkhani’s paintings and the Farsi language and writing, as that is the exact directional progression the farsi script has on a page.
In fact, she is not painting the pieces; she rather starts and continues, until by the end, where the painting/script’s context becomes more or less clear and she can bring everything to a soft conclusion, similar to its silent beginning. The script of her paintings are like letters. If the main image is placed in the centre, the opening lines, or squares, are the general greetings that break the ice and ease the reader halfway where the main issue is frankly presented, after which point, further appeasements are offered and the concluding squares are filled. But in the absence of a main image, the painter whispers repetition, and refuses to stop painting/writing. The identity of her work is rooted in the very acts of continuation and conclusion.
Zahra Mahmoudkhani’s paintings are deeply entangled in Farsi culture. One could easily find the links without ever being directly pointed towards a specific story or subject. In order to communicate with her work, one should arrange all the entanglements and squares as it invites you to literally reap what you sow. Her paintings are not ready-made images for aesthetic purposes. One needs to exercise the same amount of patience used in creating the pieces in order to understand them to the core.
Her paintings are lengthy but solvable equations that are further sweetened and complicated by their poetic disposition.
Shabahang Tayari - March 2021