Hadieh Shafie in ‘Conjuring Flames’ at Arsenal Contemporary, New York

6 Jul 2023

Hadieh Shafie debuts two new works at group exhibition, Conjuring Flames, held at Arsenal Contemporary New York, curated by Lila Nazemian.

Shafie, together with Morehshin Allahyari, Pardiss Amerian, Anahita Bagheri, Ala Dehghan, and Leila Seyedzadeh showcases artworks inspired by the writings of twelfth-century Iranian philosopher and mystic Sohrevardi.

The exhibition delves into the representation of nature as a reflection of the balance between the material and spiritual worlds, as perceived in Sohrevardi’s philosophy. The title, Conjuring Flames suggests the ongoing struggle of humanity to achieve this sacred equilibrium.These dualities and the presence of nature as well as spiritual beings appear in the artists’ works, installed across intertwined areas of light and dark throughout the space. The exhibition encompasses various mediums, such as works on paper, painting, sculpture, installation, and video, demonstrating the artists’ engagement with both traditional and contemporary artistic traditions.

Shafie’s artistic practice combines Persian art traditions with Western influences. She employs hand-painted paper strips to create ketabs (books) featuring the repetitive word “eshgh” (love/passion), subverting the traditional relationship between text and image found in illuminated manuscripts. In her Draw/Cut/Rotate and Safar series, the words “eshgh” or “safar” (travel) are depicted as elongated parallel lines spanning the length of the paper. The text, though fully visible, becomes completely abstracted through the rotation of individually cut circular bands, forming blossoms of abstracted language. In her two new works from the Sayeha series, Shafie partially dips rolled paper strips in ink, resulting in fragmented interplays of light and dark across cyclical patterns.

Conjuring Flames featuring Shafie’s works will be on view until 18 August 2023.

Images: installation views Conjuring Flames. Courtesy of Hadieh Shafie and Arsenal Contemporary.