Weaving the cacophonous rhythm of the metropolis into silent still lifes of light and dark, interwoven dashes of color, and collaged textures, Afsaneh Modiramani masterfully composes pictorial landscapes in her latest show, ‘A City for Everyone’. She crosses the border between weaving, painting and sculpture, creating perplexing loom-woven pieces. Her works are frequently reflections on her urban environment, the city of Tehran. The pieces in the current exhibition were created during the pandemic quarantine period, when the abandoned streets took center stage against the backdrop of the city’s overwhelming buildings, haphazard urban spaces and sprawling developments that encroach upon its sheltered inhabitants.
Modiramani’s woven wall hangings and three-dimensional pieces lay bare a sad and lonely panorama of the claustrophobic city. Devoid of nature and city-dwellers, the warps and wefts of the building facades become an imperfect urban grid that envelope the viewer inside the gallery, just as the cement giants dwarf the living outside. The imposing cityscapes and otherwise barren landscapes are expertly woven in smudged or washed-out grays, pale blues and sepias to create a watercolor-like haze that intensifies the somber atmosphere pervading the works. Against this background, Modiramani employs thin black thread to sew in silhouettes of sparsely displaced inhabitants and birds which hover over buildings, floating like lost apparitions in the city.
Cotton, silk and polyester thread and yarn are the building materials that Modiramani weaves into the richly textured surfaces that create the fabric of the city, while the open warps remind us of spaces yet ‘under construction’. The painting/sculpture-textile landscapes transcend the visual, triggering other sensory inputs that engage memory and perception of a city that has long since abandoned its citizens and the natural world.
Slowing down the fast-paced city to the rhythm of her magic loom, Modiramani invites the viewer to ponder ‘A City for Everyone’.

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