PRISKA C. JUSCHKA FINE ART
Priska C. Juschka Fine Art is pleased to present The Formulaic Nature of Appearances, new paintings by Iranian born artist Nicky Nodjoumi. By speaking literally and figuratively of two worlds simultaneously, the Western Hemisphere and the Middle East, Nodjoumi evokes individual dialogues against a continuous backdrop of ambiguity, allegory and irony.
Nodjoumi creates large scale oil paintings using a visual narrative that combines Persian metaphors and Iranian iconography with references of Western and foremost American culture and politics. The inherent symbolism of Mullahs and Ayatollahs juxtaposed with that of suit clad Western bureaucrats suggests an extremely delicate balance between and beyond all cultural and sociopolitical boundaries. On his canvases, the struggle against tyranny and domination, both personal and universal, unfolds seemingly in front of the viewer’s eye. Nodjoumi directs a staged scenario, full with connotations, revealing the hypocrisy within our societies - whether in form of ideological or physical exploitation, male supremacy or sexual repression.
In his most recent paintings, Nodjoumi expands into an even more complex landscape - where his characters become synonyms for the conflicts within the constructed equilibrium of power. Invoking the ideas of the Flat Earth Theory that formerly preceded the occidental idea of Enlightenment, Nodjoumi leads the viewer into a world of separations by visually dissecting the composition with dividing lines. The result is a new formation onto the picture plane - Nodjoumi placing his subjects either above ground, suggesting the existing world, or below into a nondescript, subterranean space equivalent to the underworld. Analogous to the legendary figure of Orpheus in Greek mythology alluring his audience with his songs and poems - Nodjoumi’s narrative leads through a world full of creatures, hovering above and below ground and similarly leaving an overall sensation of displacement behind. Furthermore, by unveiling the precarious relationship between oppressed and oppressor akin to the Social Pyramids of the ancient pharaohs, Nodjoumi leaves us with a distinct notion of unsettlement - as if nothing has changed ever since societies’ first formation.
Nicky Nodjoumi was born in 1942 in Kermanshah, Iran and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He earned his B.A. from Tehran University of Fine Arts in Tehran, Iran and his M.F.A. from the City College of New York in 1974. Nodjoumi’s work has been the subject of several national and international solo exhibitions including Seyhon Gallery, Aria Gallery and a 1980 Retrospective at The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran. In 2008, Nodjoumi co-curated Ardeshir Mohassess: Art and Satire in Iran with Shirin Neshat at the Asia Society and Museum, New York, NY. Most recently, Nodjoumi has been invited to participate in the 10th Havana Biennial, at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba.
This exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with an essay written by Shirin Neshat.
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Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 to 6:00 PM or by appointment.