Mehdi Ghadyanloo is an Iranian painter, sculptor and printmaker best known for his surreal renderings that draw on his childhood experiences with war and displacement. Between 2004 and 2011, Ghadyanloo created more than a hundred trompe-l’oeil murals on buildings across Tehran and became the first artist since the 1979 Iranian revolution to be commissioned both in his native country. and its geopolitical enemy, the United States.
Gagosian displays a smaller series of his studies on canvas at his location at 976 Madison Avenue. The eponymous exhibition presents the fictional architecture of Ghadyanloo in all its force – slides, tubes and ladders – all created with a masterful touch of chiaroscuro that accentuates the reflectivity of the materials represented.
These imaginative playgrounds are created from a nostalgic memory of carefree play, as well as the tensions of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) in which he grew up. Like many Iranians, Ghadyanloo suffered trauma that forced him to migrate elsewhere in search of work and a new home. The artist subtly references these experiences through structures that seem joyful and inviting at first glance, but are complicated by their incompleteness – whether it’s a missing ladder or an abrupt dead end.
The geometry of each composition also draws inspiration from Iran’s rich traditions of painting, architecture, literature and decorative arts, such as his mother’s weaving which he observed as a child.
The exhibit comes at a time when Iran and most of its neighboring countries are celebrating the New Year celebration, also known as Nowruz. Be sure to catch “Mehdi Ghadyanloo” on view at Gagosian until April 23, 2022.
In related news, FISK unveils the Nowruz 1401 collection.
976 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10075