EOA.Projects presented Darvish Fakhr’s debut solo exhibition in London, Palimpsest. In recent years Darvish has produced an extraordinary collection of multi-layered, ruminative pieces in response to several trips to Iran. In a body of work including paintings, installation and the eponymous digital collage ‘Palimpsest’ (2014), Darvish explored the relationship between shared memory and the passage of time, looking both to the past and the future. The historical patination implied by the artist’s chosen ground of Iranian public walls – sun-bleached, free-form noticeboards ordered only by time – was set off by the contemporary thread running through this collection.
On the surface, or else buried beneath multiple layers of paint, Darvish presented brief, sometimes tantalising aperçus of recent Iranian history, each one suggestive of its relationship to the present: Iranian peep shows, utopian landscapes and studio portraits; fortune-telling birds, telephone numbers, stencilled graffiti slogans, obituaries and, central to this body of work, offering both a way in and a challenge, a family of mostly anonymous individuals gazing out at us and the world beyond. Women in sunglasses, chador and lipstick, a bearded and brown-robed mullah, a street vendor and a former Iranian Emperor, each rendered with a classical sensitivity which prioritises mark-making and a direct communication of texture and surface.
It is Darvish's handling of these influences which set this collection apart, demonstrating his mercurial ability to combine a breadth of disparate elements into a coherent and mesmerising whole.
"The Palimpsest body of work came out of that attitudinal shift. It came out of the fire."
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