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Visual Dialogues

Shaqayeq Arabi and Fereydoun Ave

November 2016

Fereydoun Ave & Shaqayeq Arabi continue their ongoing dialogue with one another’s practices exploring the fields of the three and two dimensional, using the place where these two different planes meet to explore a mutual interest in material, abstraction and the found object.
Fereydoun Ave's new cycle of works “Shah Abbas and his Page Boy” marks a high point of his oeuvre. It brings together the sum total of what distinguishes him as a great Iranian artist – and, indeed, as a true cosmopolitan.

In his work, Ave weaves together, as it were, a web that sums up the world in all its complexities and contradictions. He unites the artistic expression of the Western avant-garde – Ave was a close friend to Cy Twombly – with that of Eastern traditions. By using ambivalence as a constructive principle he does not bring about a culture clash but rather a syncretically appealing fusion. The works in Shah Abbas and his Page Boy recall the form of community-living that has been practiced in Iran ever since primeval times, and evoke indirectly the divide between private intimacy and familiarity on the one hand and the restrictions on freedom in public life imposed by in Iran’s over-regulation on the other. The title for this series of works also links the present with the past. Ave brings into play the mighty Persian ruler Shah Abbas – notorious for his promiscuous life-style – and addresses a further aspect which he had taken up previously in his famous Rostam series of works: namely the area of tension created by the ambivalent concepts of Iranian masculinity. This striking sortie into the country’s history raises awareness of Ave’s view that the above-mentioned discrepancies are to do with the phenomenon of social contradictions deeply anchored in the collective cultural image of how Iran perceives itself.


Shaqayeq Arabi’s assemblages are often composed of simple materials, fundamentally abstract, yet evoking a range of associations. They speak to both the built, urban environment and the natural world by combining the textures of found objects with the rawness of materials. her work examines the different forms and textures of materials, and, through them, the balance between the expressively abstract and the suggestively pictorial. They propose a metamorphosis from the base, synthetic nature of their materials to the ethereal nature of a composition – be it installation or sculpture. These totem-like sculptures embody her interest in exploring how the sum total of an object’s parts can comprise what Ave has referred to as “a larger visionary whole.”

Indeed, both Ave and Arabi work by composing works out of the objects available to them in their surroundings – turning them into a poetic stream of consciousness.

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