The Armory Show 2021

Moslem Khezri

We Keep Reviewing / Moslem Khezri's solo presentation at The Armory Show 2021
SEPTEMBER 9 - 12, 2021
Booth P7, Hall 3B, Javits Center, New York
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SARADIPOUR Art (SARAI) Gallery is delighted to announce its participation at The Armory Show 2021 with a solo presentation by Moslem Khezri at Booth P7, Hall 3B. Moslem’s ongoing series, “We Keep Reviewing”, invites us to revisit the familiar, nostalgic and contradictory school environment. Moslem – who also happens to be the invisible teacher of his classrooms – captures a timeless aspect of life in an all-boys school in Iran with all its similarities and peculiarities. His work consists of subtly delivered paintings and drawings of sometimes empty but often populated scenes, each sensitively staged with nearly theatrical lighting.
Each work is the result of a chain of crucial decision-making from taking photographs to the painterly restructuring of images – not just in terms of mimesis but more crucially, the inner truth beyond their mundane appearances – on canvas and paper, echoing the artist's mastery over his means of expression, his subjects, and compositions. Khezri enjoys full authority over all the relationships in forms and space, yet neither he nor his camera seems to attract any attention; a god out of sight. Thus, we may join him as invisible guests of these halls, classrooms, and courtyards, wandering around, secretly watching these students whose varied moving and static figures together with the contrasting geometric architecture and furniture around them all come to life in a light-and-shadow play.
As the series develops, lightness, maturity of tones, and gentle passages become an increasingly dominant painterly approach, resulting in a hushed, delicate harmony. Throughout these tableaux, a bittersweet and nostalgic story – from adolescent camaraderie and playfulness to unspoken worries, uniforms, and long midday hours – is narrated, line by line and form by form, by the long, pale fingertips of winter sunlight.
On deeper strata, We Keep Reviewing explores notions of power structures and social discipline and how they can mentally and physically take over our existence from an early age. These mostly enclosed spaces, rectilinear interiors, the prevalence of blue-grey uniforms and, perhaps most poignantly, scenes where all the figures appear in slightly different versions of the same submissive, reduced postures are all visual cues reminding us of the unseen authority at work, even in the more playful compositions where the schoolboys tend to break the space by expressing their individuality in varied gestures.
Selected works from “We Keep Reviewing” were particularly well-received both during the online edition of Art Dubai back in 2020 and at Art Dubai 2021’s Bawwaba section. “Khezri’s protagonists revisit social visions and review the trajectory of history. In each work, an illumination picks out one or another figure”, says cultural theorist, art critic, independent curator and curator of Bawwaba Nancy Adajania describing Moslem’s works, comparing them to “Rembrandt’s group portraiture” and highlighting the essential quality of “Noor, the light of divine grace” within each scene. Moslem Khezri’s works have since been featured in magazines such as The Bombay Review and ZH Magazine.