Art And Culture

Khataei’s Shadows in London

Khataei’s Shadows in LondonKhataei’s Shadows in London

A series of mixed media works and drawings by Iranian artist Mehrdad Khataei is currently on view in his first solo exhibition at London’s Sophia Contemporary Gallery.

The artist will present 16 of his recent mixed media artworks and 16 drawings from his ongoing ‘Shadows’ series, the gallery’s website, reported.

Through his art, Khataei tries to depict “the aftermath of an undefined catastrophe, using it as a basis to explore the tensions between chaos and order which exists in society.”

As a young child during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Khataei interrogates the nature of modern society through his multi-layered images, aiming to reveal the shadowy part of humanity and throw into relief what he perceives to be the borderline between normality and insanity inherent within the structures of contemporary civilization.

Voluminous heads and figures occupy the main space of Khataei’s large-scale images, which are surrounded by various symbols and creatures all bearing the signs of an unnamed disaster. “Blots on foreheads suggest ulcerated skin, military figures in gas masks leer out of the shadows and there are suggestions of smoke and debris throughout. Imagery repeats in the works; electricity pylons, houses, clothing, x-rays, animals and severed body parts are all highly realistic,” says the artist.

“These shadowy and often part-formed objects may imply destruction, but they also suggest the normality that existed before the catastrophe. Despite the desecration surrounding his central figures, Khataei’s design is such that the faces appear to be full of life, sadly observing the chaos surrounding them and demonstrating the artist’s belief in humanity’s capacity for resilience, even within the midst of a dystopia,” the website said.

‘Shadows’ will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction written by Alexander Borovsky, head of the Department of Contemporary Art at the Russian State Museum.

Khataei, 39, holds a master’s degree in painting from Azad University of Arts and Architecture. He teaches art at the University of Tehran, Anahita and Kavosh institutes, Tehran Fine Art High School and Alzahra University.

He is a member of the Iranian Painters Association and has held numerous shows including printmaking solo exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey (2005) and art galleries Assar (2008) and Pooya (2004) in Iran. His paintings were also exhibited at Tehran art galleries Aria (2006, 2005), Mes Negar (2003) and Sabz (1997).

The exhibit will receive visitors through June 4.