The much anticipated revelation of works by artists Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh promises to be a visual adventure of all things peculiar and familiar. Amer and Farkhondeh who are of Egyptian and Iranian origin respectively have been working together since 2001 on series of works charged with romantic overtones, expressionistic tendencies and sometimes relaying socio-political critique. Sharing similar backgrounds both received formal art training in France and now live in New York. Amer is regarded as “one of the most important contemporary feminist artists today”1, while Farkhondeh is best known for his explorations on the traditional theme of landscapes. The meeting of these two artistic horizons took itself to another territory at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute.
By incorporating various printing techniques, drawing, painting and embroidery; these 48 unique works and 17 edition prints conjure up the imagery of fairytales and provocative silhouettes half concealed between intricate layers of printed flora. The works reveal themselves in a confluence of Eastern and Western cultural symbols and associations – showcasing Arabic script framed by images of Wonder Woman and instances of stenciled cartoon characters and Hindu gods.
Amer’s rendition of suggestive figures in hypnotic repetition of psychedelic hues, takes on the task of questioning myths, pop culture references and objectification of women. While Farkhondeh’s application of printed flora, birds and pale washes obscure these underlying erotic forms and gestures. These richly textured works juxtaposing two very different artistic styles blur conventional geographic, national, and artistic landmarks. Thus surprising viewers with its uniqueness and destabilising our accustomed preconceptions.
This also marks the first, two artists’ collaboration for STPI, expanding the creative dialogue between the studio and workshop. “This is our very first experience working with two artists at the same time. The collaboration is double the challenge and complexity, but it provided a huge creative source which produced incredible results”, says Director of STPI, Irene Lee. STPI’s paper- and printmakers find themselves responding to the challenges by adapting techniques to the imperatives of this dynamic duo, in an effort to push the limits of art and of artistic material.