Haleh Redjaian  l  Up on the toe, the air is thinner

May 1 - June 14, 2015

A secret freedom opens through a crevice you can barely see.’ -Rumi (13th century Sufi mystic poet)

Haleh Redjaian’s works on paper, textiles, and site-specific wall instillations seek to embody Rumi’s provocation not only to become more inquisitively perceptive of the imperfect grids of daily life, but also to twist and break conventional patterns in order to reveal previously unknown gateways. 

Redjaian creates ornamental forms by adopting the language of drawing in multiple dimensions working with a variety of materials. This practice unfolds a sequence of ruptures within the habitual patterns of contemporary human existence. Upon entering the exhibition space, the viewer is confronted with a large wall, upon which parallel threads hover and vibrate just barely in front of the walls surface. The piece sets the tone for the whole show, which asserts moments of spatial disruption, on both a large-scale and within the minute interstitial spaces between wall and thread, opening spaces of escape from the laws of strict geometry, and offering opportunities to discover previously unnoticed dimensions. 

Throughout her exhibition Redjaian seeks to draw attention to the universal language of geometrical order and the human aptitude for re-defining traditional rules, overlaying a mathematical structure with tiny moments of rebellion. In her works Redjaian develops a practice of abstracting patterns to create infinite layers and repetitions, offering a mathematical approach to the aesthetic practice of drawing. In this way, Redjaian calls attention to centuries-old traditions of ornament, in which symbolic value is given to geometry and mathematics. Included in the show is a series of finely hand-woven carpets, presented in their original raw state and commissioned by the artist from a family-owned carpet manufacturer in Kerman, Iran. Upon the delicate wool of the carpets Redjaian lightly stitches patterns reminiscent of both the modern forms of Bauhaus architecture and the linear settlement patterns of medieval Iran, retaining a respective distance from the raw material. By placing local materials and indigenous patterns into conversation with global ideas and modern architectural design Redjaian weaves an ordered system into the fabric of an otherwise chaotic human life. 

While Redjaian’s previous work has also focused on the lightness and transparency of materials, Up on the toe, the air is thinner takes the conversation forward in presenting a series of fragile, ordered systems, which contain the ruminations of challenging interruptions. These are forms which seem to echo the spirit of Rumi’s philosophy: “When I am silent, I have thunder hidden inside.”


Click here for the German press release