Golnaz Fathi explores the relationship between experimental calligraphic mark-making and non-traditional mediums

image Golnaz Fathi, Numbers (detail), 2013, pen on Chinese paper, cover acrylic, 20 x 336 cm / Courtesy of The Third Line and the Artist

The Third Line is very pleased to present Line|Khat, a solo exhibition by Golnaz Fathi that explores the relationship between experimental calligraphic mark-making and non-traditional mediums. Golnaz’s approach to abstraction in calligraphy, and signature style of visuals created through indecipherable lettering, has expanded to include non-traditional media such as ballpoints and rollerballs. Through this series, Golnaz explores an intimate narrative through the practice of diary keeping.

image Golnaz Fathi, Numbers, 2013, pen on Chinese paper (24 double sided pages, 20x336cm / Courtesy of The Third Line and the Artist

Golnaz’s new body of work originates from a fascination with diaries and notebooks and was prompted by a visit to Shanghai, where she encountered a series of folded handmade books. These triggered nostalgia around the notebooks she used to carry around and collect as a child, causing a return to the ritual of diary keeping. Obsessively and repetitively penning down her thoughts on a daily basis, every page turned into an abstract artwork. Golnaz refers to this process as 'a voyage into the unknown world'.

image Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2016, ballpoint on paper, 21x30 cm / Courtesy of The Third Line and the Artist

The exhibition presents a selection of notebooks, and works on paper and canvas from this series. Works on paper in the 'Black Series' and 'Blue Series' are made with archival ballpoint pens, an uncommon medium for calligraphers to use. For Golnaz, being a classically trained calligrapher, the use of this pen can be seen as a subtly rebellious and unconventional approach to the practice. Running out of ballpoints, and not being able to obtain new ones, Golnaz then switched to rollerball pens, which she uses in combination with acrylic paint, culminating in works on large canvases.

image Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2016, blue ballpoint pen on paper, 21x30 cm / Courtesy of The Third Line and the Artist

Moving on from bold painterly lines to the use of ballpoint and rollerball, Golnaz uses her background as a trained calligrapher to skillfully transform known language into form and abstract compositions. By making the words illegible, she paradoxically allows the work to become more comprehensible; by being understandable for no one, the visuals become accessible to everyone.

image Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2016, rollerball and acrylic on canvas, (diptych), 100x220 cm / Courtesy of The Third Line and the Artist

Golnaz Fathi

Golnaz Fathi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1972. She received a diploma in Iranian Calligraphy from the prestigious Iranian Society of Calligraphy, Tehran after completing her Bachelors from the Azad Art University, Tehran. Golnaz has exhibited in a number of international solo shows. Group exhibitions include Frontiers Reimagined, Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Venice, Italy (2015); Approaches to Tradition, Neo-traditionalism in Contemporary Iranian Art, MOCA, Tehran, Iran (2014); Museum Malaysia, Islamic Arts Museums, Malaysia (2013); Qalam: The Art of Beautiful Writing, Birmingham Art Museum, UK (2013); and The Elephant in the Dark, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India (2012).

Golnaz is the recipient of the Young Global Leader 2011 award and her works are housed in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, Brighton & Hove Museum, England; Carnegie Mellon University, Doha, Qatar; Asian Civilization’s Museum, Singapore; The British Museum, London; Museum of Islamic Art, Malaysia; and Farjam Collection, Dubai. Golnaz currently lives and works in Tehran, Iran.

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