TEKRAR: AN EXHIBITION OF NEW WORKS BY SOUDEH DAVOUD
Hamzianpour & Kia is pleased to present TEKRAR, the first solo exhibition in the United States of Tehran-based artist Soudeh Davoud. Born in 1988, Davoud is one of a new generation of Iranian women artists whose subject matter is of women before and after the revolution in Iran. Focusing on family, friends, and highly recognized women of their time, she metaphorically weaves a fabric of found and imagined imagery of both generations, culled from her intensive research of photographs, documentaries, home movies, and printed and shared stories from the past. Davoud proffers a paintable history with personal insight into the experience of the hidden women of her land and to those who like her must fight bravely for their right to live in society as they choose. Often depicted in various socio-political and historical situations, these women in reality exist in a patriarchal society. They are forced for the sake of their own survival to succumb to the telling of a history that has attempted to exclude women. Her art emphasizes how the “power of presence” constitutes women’s agency in today’s Iran.
To create a visual threshold between these two generations and different cultures, Davoud uses a layering process of abstract paint washes, and erratic colored pencil cross-hatchings to form photographic-like images that seem to emerge from the depths of memory and a history erased. Each work presents a different narrative and setting, collapsing time. The exhibition includes two new large-scale paintings on flat canvas, two medium large color and 11 black and white small works on paper, all exclusively made for the gallery.
TEKRAR, the title of the exhibition comes from a Farsi word meaning repetition as in weaving or knitting; in her work, generations of women are entwined within a woven cultural fabric. The artist identifies with all Iranian women, past present and future. In two works on paper, there are wedding portraits of the Shah’s Queens in their customized Christian Dior gowns; both seen as role models of strength, beauty and class whom many Iranian women admired and aspired to emulate. In particular, the Empress Farah née Diba (third wife and widow), is a role model with her charitable and philanthropic work, that along with her embrace of modern culture, helped shaped the identity of Iranian women of Davoud’s generation The pre-revolution generation of women during the Shah’s pro-Western-modernization of the 60s/70s were encouraged to wear European design couture, giving the impression that they were modern and liberated. She sees a parallel with the forced hijab clad women of the current regime as both generations of women have little or no choice in their representation. At the bottom of one of the drawings is a brightly colored trompe l’œil threaded braid; an imagining that if pulled all may come together or cause an unraveling. Davoud’s metaphoric work celebrates the commonality these women share that goes beyond the cultural fabric that holds them together.
Soudeh Davoud was one of nine Iranian women artists in the seminal exhibition, “A Bridge Between You and Everything” at The High Line Nine gallery in New York City, curated by the Iranian artist, Shirin Neshat. To date, she has presented four solo exhibitions in Iran and Europe; her fifth at Hamzianpour & Kia is her first in the United States. She began her professional career with the Aun Gallery in Tehran (Iran) under the management of Afarin Neysari. She is currently the featured artist at Mah Gallery and the Iranian Contemporary Graphic Designers Festival.
Other group exhibitions that included her work were at Palazzo Bastogi Museum in Florence, curated by Middle East and Europe Specified Institute of Contemporary Arts (SAFPEM / 2018); and the Asia House in London (UK), curated by Capital Art Society (2018). In 2020, Soudeh was selected as one of “The Women Artists Who Deserve Our Attention”, according to 9 Leading Artists from Artsy Magazine. In 2021, she had a solo show at Janet Rady Fine Art LTD in London; a gallery specializing in Modern and Contemporary Art from the Middle East. As a citizen of Iran, Davoud is unable to obtain a travel visa and therefore, has never seen her work exhibited outside of Iran.