Blank Space is proud to present a series of new paintings by Iranian artist Farsad Labbauf in what will be his second solo exhibition with the gallery. This exhibition marks an elaboration on the artist’s past series and a deepening of both his personal story and conceptual message of cross-cultural identity. From My East to Your West will be on view at Blank Space from September 13 to October 28, with an opening reception on September 13 from 5 to 8 pm.
The inspiration behind most of Labbauf’s recent paintings is found in the iconic images that surrounded him as a child, while growing up in Tehran in the 1970s. This landscape was a complete melange of eastern and western influences and informed his sensibilities as a youth. While there was a constant presence of the western world streaming through various sources such as television, comic books, toys, etc. there was also a continuous flow and exposure to various Persian arts such as calligraphy, miniature painting, tile works, poetry, etc. both at home and in academic life. To create this new series, he has extracted elements from sources mentioned above and overlapped them in his linear figurative painting style to create hybrid images.
In an earlier work from 2016, ‘Oh, Sweet Bitter World’, Labbauf portrays Kim Jong Un and Bugs Bunny together atop the North Korean leader’s submarine. At first glance, these characters seem to belong not only to separate dimensions but also different universes. They come together on the same plane to play an intricate dance of hide and seek and weave an open narrative about their speculative roles. Jong Un appears in the foreground, surveying what lies ahead in his submarine just as it has risen while Bugs (symbolizing the western power) stands leisurely and reassured in the background enjoying his carrot. Works such as ‘In The Light Of Your Shadow’ and ‘Unwritten Stains In History’ re-examine the role and influence of Western entertainment in producing commercial icons such as comic book Superheroes. “Subversive and subliminal, these characters act as products who infiltrate global culture and at times help shape dark histories by creating an atmosphere of disdain for one’s personal and national history in exchange for all that is foreign and seductive in the animated West.” states Labbauf. The removal of Iran’s Prime Minister Dr. Mossadegh from power in 1953 by the CIA (under an operation titled: AJAX) is used as a direct subject for these works to depict such influences.
Farsad Labbauf is an artist living and working in the New York area. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and a second degree in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design. His paintings have been featured in more than sixty group shows across the globe, including Saatchi Gallery in London and Ex Aurum Museum in Pescara, Italy, in addition to solo exhibitions in New York, Boston, Amsterdam, Tehran and Esfahan Museum of Contemporary Art. Labbauf's work can be found in numerous public and private collections including The Salsali Museum, Dubai, Saatchi Gallery in London, Carsten de Boer Art Collection, Amsterdam and Museum of Contemporary Art in Esfahan.