Remembering the Oblivion       05 May 2017

Rod Bianco Gallery is pleased to present “Remembering the Oblivion” by Mehdi Ghadyanloo. In this exhibition the artist will present a series of paintings, as well as a collection of drawings. This will be his first solo show at the gallery. Known for his gigantic trompe l’oeil-style murals in central Tehran, Ghadyanloo also creates paintings, with surreal and minimalistic themes. Through his works, Ghadyanloo opens a window into the mood of life in Iran today. At the same time, he provides an autobiographical perspective, portraying the landscapes of his youth, his memories of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), and his life experience in the Islamic Republic. 

Since the romantic period of the 18th century, paintings of the sky and the sea have been linked to the idea of the sublime. For philosophers like Burke and Kant, the sublime is regarded as one of the basic forms of aesthetic experience. While art and literature previously had been concerned with what was beautiful and pleasing to the eye, the sublime is not restrained and pleasant. Rather it is limitless and uncontrollable. This transition meant depicting the human experience in face of a wild and spirited nature. The greatness of the landscape evokes awe and admiration, as well as a strong sensation of fear. The sea, often depicted with raging storms, is where all life began and where many lives come to an end. 

In Ghadyanloos work, the sea plays an essential role. Although the water is calm with a golden light on the horizon, the same emotions of unease and helplessness are easily recognised. There is no storm in sight, but still there is an unknown presence lurking beneath the surface. When he depicts the ocean, it is with an awareness that destruction is always looming. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, the artist knows the devastation conflict can bring upon innocent people. To many in the western world, the sea is a symbol of endless possibilities, adventure and new travels. The view of the horizon allows the mind to wander. For others who are forced to flee, the ocean is the only way to escape. It does not represent a dream, but the struggle to survive. 

After growing up near the agricultural fields in the suburbs of Tehran, Ghadyanloo studied at Tehran University’s College of Fine Arts and graduated with a BA in 2005. Subsequently he earned an MA in film studies from Tehran’s Teachers College (Tarbiyat-e Modarres).In 2016 he became the first Iranian artist to be commissioned in both Iran and the US since the revolution in 1979, when he completed a massive mural for the Rose Kennedy Greenway project in Boston, US.