Sophia Contemporary presents an exhibition of works by Iranian-born, US-based artist Ramin Shirdel. The show includes four new large-scale freestanding sculptures, three wall-based sculptures and two paintings by the artist.
Each sculpture is made up of intricate layers to form words or individual letters in Farsi and English. The works feature strong colours – red, yellow and purple – in reference to the vibrancy of a dreamscape, an antidote to the commonplace grayscale of the modern day urban landscape.
Trained originally as an architect, Shirdel draws upon the characteristics of this medium in his artistic practice. Shirdel uses a technique of layering, which he first developed whilst designing buildings, and applies it to the iconography of language. He explores the spatial, abstract and sculptural properties of letters and words, making references to the Italian Spatialist tradition and Pop Art. Through the medium of sculpture and architecture, the artist emphasises the ambiguity of language and casts a light in a playful way on the different cultural levels of meaning contained within words.
The exhibition focuses on the subjectivity and universality of human emotion. Each sculpture explores the various stages of a developing feeling and the ambiguity of conflicting states of minds. The sculpture Wild/Wise transforms from ‘Wild’ to ‘Wise’ as the viewer circles around it, simultaneously highlighting interconnectedness and dichotomy. The sculpture Leily/Majnoon refers to a 7th century Arabian love story later adapted by the Iranian poet Nizami Ganjavi, which Lord Byron called “the Romeo and Juliet of the East.” The artwork depicts in Farsi the protagonists of the love story on either side, symbolising the duality of love. Shirdel creates a distinctive visual language on life’s basic instincts, transcending the parameters of language and nationality.
Born in Tehran in 1981, Ramin Shirdel received a Master of Architecture from Tehran Art University. He is a multi-disciplinary artist, working in a variety of mediums, celebrated as an award-winning architect and involved in the design of several international projects. Shirdel’s work has been exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions, notably at Art Stage Singapore (2017); Art Miami (2016); Sharjah Art Museum (2016); Sophia Contemporary, London (2016); Etemad Gallery, Tehran (2015); Ayyam Gallery, Dubai (2014); the 6th Biennale of Sculpture at Niavaran Cultural Center, Tehran (2011) and Elahe Gallery, Tehran (2011). His works are housed in private collections throughout the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the United States. The artist lives and works between Tehran, Iran and Los Angeles, USA.