SITUATIONS Gallery, New York, NY
April 7 - May 14, 2023
SITUATIONS is pleased to present Past Past, Abdolreza Aminlari’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. On view will be new hand-embroidered works on paper alongside a series of glazed ceramics. Commanding an array of material techniques in his approach to geometric abstraction, Aminlari continues to explore ideas surrounding the transnational diffusion of domestic and factory labor and cultural production through the lens of lived experience.
Aminlari first introduced bespoke papermaking into his practice in 2021 after receiving an invitation from renowned Brooklyn studio Dieu Donné to create an artist project. Developing a novel approach to the process of couching, where a newly formed sheet of paper is transferred from the mold to another surface for drying, Aminlari began offsetting and selectively manipulating layers of custom-dyed abaca fiber on a cotton base to reveal jagged-edged swathes of intense, contrasting color within the same piece. The spontaneous textures and organic qualities of handmade paper act as a foil to the hard-edged shapes the artist stitches using deadstock Japanese 24-karat gold-wrapped thread, casting metallic against matte, order against chance.
The artist’s largest work on paper to date, Untitled (23.001), 2023, introduces ordinary sewing thread in a limited palette of coral, teal, and maroon onto a white paper ground. Colorful embroidered geometries appear scattered amid golden counterparts in two tones, juxtaposing contemporary mass-produced materials with the meticulous pre-Industrial labor of hand embroidery. The glyph-like forms populating Aminlari’s topographic compositions reappear in the gallery space, as ceramic plaques dotting the wall and a free-standing sculpture. Their vibrantly layered and crackled surfaces lend the appearance of painterly relics, fragments of something familiar yet unknown.
The geometric shapes present throughout Aminlari’s works are based on the artist’s recollections of animals, symbols, and patterns in the Persian rugs of his childhood, but in their current state are meant to open onto multiple readings, outside of a singular culture or context. Memory acts as a filter, softening edges, blending distinct images into one, and allowing viewers to examine these motifs at a remove. In emphasizing the unfixed and subjective aspects of personal memory, Aminilari’s “in-between shapes” go beyond their source. At once specific and open-ended, they speak to a larger diasporic experience and the nature of nostalgia itself.