Pantea Rahmani wants things raw. She’s fed up of Middle East clichés. But what does she want?
Pantea Rahmani wants things raw. She’s fed up of Middle East clichés. She’s had enough of artistic reflections on the veil, she doesn’t want to make calligraphy and she doesn’t want to offer any glazed orientalist fantasies. With six huge black and white portraits, currently showing at B21, Iranian artist Rahmani wants to expose herself without any of the usual tropes.
What appears like a pencil drawing is in fact thousands of tiny ink brushstrokes, applied with a meticulous intensity. The process sits behind each work, it gives each canvas focus and severity. Because of the sheer scale of these works (some over 3 metres wide), Rahmani’s body dominates the space. With her fierce, evaluating eyes, she strips down any suggestions we’d hope to find in these works. In one image, we see both her body and the reflection of it in a mirror, while her eyes glow luminescent at the viewer. She seems to refute any self-analysis in these works, instead she stares back at us. We’re drawn always to her face, particularly in the mirror piece, and she creates a central point in the work, that diminishes the overall ‘exposure’ of herself that we see.
A strong, refreshing collection that manages to find its own way in such a timely form.