until 25.06. | #3411ARTatBerlin | Galerie kajetan Berlin presents from 23. April 2022 (Opening on 22.04.) the first solo-exhibition in the gallery Strokes by the artist Shila Khatami.
Until now, industrial material such as perforated steel-aluminum and hard fiber plates were the main carrier and starting point of Khatami’s (*1976 in Saarbrücken) pictorial syntheses of geometric signs and gestural, expansive painting. Meanwhile, her most recent pictorial inventions show the artist turning to canvas, to which Khatami inscribes her compositions of dynamic forms and colored processing traces by means of large-scale paint rollers, stencils, as well as industrial paints and markers. In her show at Galerie kajetan the artist frames and contextualizes her most recent series of non-figurative paintings by two space-specific installations that testify to Khatami’s analytical approach to painting.
The exhibition opens with the installation 7, conceived in situ, which exemplifies Shila Khatami’s artistic approach. The artist took up the form of the exhibition lighting on the ceiling of the anteroom to transform it into a sign – the number seven – in her work and to let it become new forms through reflections. Her attention is always focused on linear and geometric shapes, with which she can react painterly to the gridded structure of the support material. Khatami grasps the art-historical dimension of an initially meaningless form discovered in the everyday and, through the various orientations of the imagined cipher, allows us to participate in her reflections on form and content, which, depending on how it is read, can be a symbolically charged one.
At first glance, the series of canvases created especially for the exhibition, in which Khatami culminates her analytical approach to the medium of painting, presents itself entirely without references. While the work Mennige (2022), named after a historical pigment no longer used because of its toxicity, is carried by its luminous colorfulness and the dynamic-constructivist pictorial structure that seeks to break down pictorial boundaries, the paintings Azurit and Malachit (2022) rely in their pictorial effect entirely on the materiality of a historical color consisting of highly transparent crystals. From her preoccupation with the specific color formulations of Persian miniature painting, the artist with Iranian roots traces here the dual nature of color and remembered color worlds with the sometimes non-art materials available to her today. The sometimes permeable, sometimes opaque white primer paint contrasting the color motifs, emphasizes the process of approach.
Still used here or in Beinschwarz and Damage Line (2022) as a support, the chalky primer, dynamically applied with a large-area paint roller, becomes the sole pictorial medium of expression in the works Anstrich, Twins, and Strokes (2022). In this way, Khatami breaks with classical hierarchies within image production and brings achromatic color, traditionally intended for the picture’s background, to the picture’s surface without competition. The works move aesthetically between subjective gestural Abstract Expressionism and sober Constructivism, but Khatami undermines such attributions, in that her work titles refer to concrete everyday phenomena and practices, thus unfold a narrative potential.
The point of departure for these most recent, much more autonomous works is Shila Khatami’s mural Street Work (2021) realized in the public space of Berlin-Wedding at the Lobe Block (by architect Arno Brandlhuber among others). For the first time, the artist had to paint on a large-format smooth surface that she had not chosen herself. For this purpose, she made use of large-format paint rollers, which allowed her to work on a large surface with just a few strokes, implementing a linear formal language of a repetitive character, supported by a rapid, gestural application of paint. With formal recourse to former works, the artist skillfully identifies the mural as her work and, together with the materials used, consciously approaches the field of graffiti art and its name tags.
Khatami concludes the exhibition with her installation The Road (2017), which can be read as a commentary on her own painterly work. The expansive work shows a continuous yellow line – borrowed from a road marking – that is flanked by two black lines. Accurately rolled onto aluminum panels as straight lines, the artist has installed them in a compound across the wall and floor, staging an extreme central perspective. If, viewed from a distance, the lines still seem to draw our gaze dynamically into the depths of the room, their verticality as we approach them is increasingly perceived as barriers that rise in height as the floor element visually elongates. The feeling of inescapability is finally countered by the material used, which reveals its permeability upon close inspection.
The play with our perception here opens the view for an artistic position that skillfully combines seemingly irreconcilable things in style and genre. By means of art-historical as well as art-remote references, Khatami illuminates her own medium of expression and reveals the pictorial elements in their respective historicity and limitation. In doing so, she arrives at novel pictorial creations, to which she unmistakably inscribes her own signature, telling of urban and industrial aesthetics, and thus locates herself formconsciously within the most recent art history in the As well as.
Opening: Friday, 22. April 2022, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Exhibition dates: Saturday, 23. April – Saturday, 25. June 2022
Special opening on the Gallery Weekend Berlin: Friday, 29. April to Sunday 1. May 2022, 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Special opening with Guided-tour for Charlottenwalk 2022: Friday, 3. June – 6:00 to 9:00 pm and Saturday, 4. June 2022 – noon to 6:00 pmTo the Gallery
Exhibition Shila Khatami – Galerie kajetan Berlin | Zeitgenössische Kunst – Contemporary Art – Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin