Reading Faces Like Reading Poetry

BY Katrina Kufer / Jun 1 2017 / 18:10 PM

Roya Khadjavi Projects opens its second exhibition For Your Eyes Solely in partnership with Massoud Nader at Elga Wimmer Gallery

Reading Faces Like Reading Poetry
Image courtesy the artist
Ali Kourehchian. Paper Bag 1: Memories of my childhood. Bronze. 47 x 25 x 27 cm.

Iranian sculptor and architect Ali Kourehchian is showing a series of bronze sculptures he refers to as “The Masks”, inspired by Persian poetry that incorporates and references how the truth of the world has been disguised. Transforming the written word into works of art that directly relate to calligraphy but are infused with geometric lines and three-dimensional personified characteristics, “the result is a synergy between three art forms,” says Roya Khadjavi in a statement, “understandable to Persian and non-Persian audiences.”

Kourehchian aims to produce works that not only look like their literature-based source, but also literally mean it. “These mask-like volumes convey the connotation and rhythms of the Persian poet,” he explains. “The Persian poet builds their poems through the 32 alphabetic forms of the Persian language.” The artist in turn then seeks to acquire the main essence of the poem, selecting key elements rich with visual and symbolic meaning to use as the foundation for his works, which dance over and within a mix of metallic, and occasionally invisible, visages.

Developing on the complex process of manifesting the intangible – what Kourehchian refers to as “designing a design process” – he muses on the need for each mask to “be afloat in space yet legible” permitting the works to transcend cultural connotations. While some of the works (Passion or Hijab) read clearly as masks, molded to human contours with the eye openings intact, others (Magnanimity or Rumi) appear as abstract bronze forms that twist with a fluidity that does not belie their rigid and structured materiality. Wherever the viewer stands, and independent of linguistic or cultural comprehension, Kourechian’s works are undeniably infused with the poetry that they strive to embody.

For Your Eyes Solely runs until 11 June at Elga Wimmer Gallery, New York. For more information visit