criss-crossed

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criss-crossed

For Haleh Redjaian (b. 1971, lives and works in Berlin), the line is the beginning of everything. The line connects one dot to another, demarcates a space and offers endless possibilities for inventing shapes, patterns and geometrical combinations.

The works dwell somewhere between two and three dimensions. She often makes in situ installations, but even in her drawings and tapestries Redjaian is a spatial thinker. Each medium is a space: paper, textile, architecture. In that sense, the artist does not differentiate between drawing on a piece of paper or drawing in an architectural space. What matters is perspective: not only mathematical perspective, but also the position we take. How do we stand in a space and how do we relate to a certain issue?

Redjaian chooses a geometrical language, with (sometimes repetitive) patterns, shapes and planes. She sees the poetic potential of geometric shapes, rather than their purely mathematical qualities. With only a very vague idea of how the work will turn out, she always starts with a line, which evolves into a shape. Lines combined have the potential to take on an endless variety of shapes.

The basis for the textile works is a carpet, woven in Iran. Usually this carpet would be white. To Redjaian, their texture is comparable to that of checkered paper: there is a certain grid, serving as a base for the lines she will apply to it. Sometimes she makes a print on the textile, sometimes she creates a new drawing with ‘lines’ of thread. The compositions are of the same mindset as her others drawings: geometrical abstractions with room for coincidences inherent to the material.

The artist leaves quite a lot to coincidence. What the carpets will look like when they are delivered to her, is partly a mystery. Many small peculiarities, inherent to the woven textile, inspire her and make each work unique. This is also true for the other works: in her drawings small ‘mistakes’ happen too; unexpected effects which offer a new inspiration or perspective. A work often evolves towards unforeseen directions.

The new series on paper, ‘Lorem Ipsum’, starts from handprinted test pages. The text ‘lorem ipsum’, the well-known example text, is primarily used by printers and designers to indicate what a text will look like in a specific layout. The words have no meaning and are of no importance. The letters, however, form their own composition, almost like a grid. On top of this underlying space, Redjaian creates new drawings, a new layer. Each page is completely different, but the aesthetics and visual language of the series are consistent.

The exhibition translates a feeling of unrest and shifting due to the corona crisis. There is no denying its tangible impact: the virus controls every step we take, it affects everything and everyone. The world is different. Projects and priorities change or disappear, but at the same time there is room for new ideas and possibilities. Redjaian saw new meanings in existing themes, and new implementations for previously conceived projects. Works that had a different destination at first, suddenly ran into each other after all – criss-crossed, but with a strong aesthetical connection.

Tamara Beheydt