In a continuation of Reza Derakshani’s fusion of Iranian artistic tradition with Western contemporary technqiues, Hunting the Light features 12 recent works within his existing series Hunting, Garden Party and Shirin and Khosrow. A combination of cultures and time periods, Derakshani’s work serves as nostalgic reflections on his Iranian identity, Persian history, migration, displacement and modernity. "The works in this exhibition demonstrate the themes and techniques that Reza has tirelessly been exploring throughout his career,” says Vassili Tsarenkov, Sophia Contemporary co-founding director. “The paintings include his signature themes of predilection from the Shahnameh such as Shirin and Khosrow whilst continuing to explore Persian miniature painting and Western abstraction."
Visitors will be able to explore four previously unseen works from the series Hunting, which draws from Persian manuscript painting depictions of scenes in the Royal Court of the Shah and are represented in oil and expressive brushstrokes on large canvases. Garden Party features imagery related to idyllic Persian gardens – considered a metaphor for heaven and the afterlife in Persian culture – with four fresh works in the series’s textural style. The final series on display, Shirin and Khosrow, is rooted in a 10th-century romantic tragedy in the Shahnameh that has been cited as early inspiration for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Four recent works will address the story’s role as a bridge between Eastern and Western cultural production in Derakshani’s trademark embracement of vivid hues.