Haleh Redjaian | White Leaves One and Two on Their Place

  • VENUE: Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde is pleased to present an exhibition by Haleh Redjaian, White Leaves One and Two on Their Place. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, and features works on paper, woven textiles, and a new series of experimentations based on pattern singing.

Redjaian begins with a grid, the matrix of rows and columns is the framework where weaves, graphite, paint, and print develop on and around their structure and medium. With each stroke and dash of the pencil or pen the grid’s apparent order loosens. It is a structure that reflects our world and environments where paved roads and city grids, made to organize the traffic and flow of daily lives are often tangled in minor and major events: traffic jams, pavement construction, a blazing tower, or a (spilled) milk delivery. As in, there is never a time where this grid is ideally utilized. Redjaian, deliberately seeks these imperfections by altering the environment that the grid inhabits.

Central to this exhibition is The Pattern Singing series (2020), which was inspired by the work of carpet weavers in Iran who sing the patterns of their laborious and time-consuming work. A type of work song, pattern singing guides the worker through their day in rhythmic instruction. This system for making the pattern itself, is a kind of call-and-response that guides the weavers in their collaborative labour. The artist sheds further light on the work of the carpet weavers by screening the documentary, The Woven Sounds, by the musician, composer and researcher Mehdi Aminian. The film explores the practice of pattern singing in Iran called Naqshe Khani, and how the melodies propel and influence the weaving process.

Inspired by the act of singing through labour, which the artist finds mirrored in her own praxis of counting through marking, Redjaian considers the carpet weaver’s pattern songs to provide energy, reflect moods, and produce codes. She works to decipher them on her grid, charting the rhythms and formulas of the weaver’s pattern song in The Pattern Singing series (2020), a sequence of abstractions that embody the rhythms and formulas of the carpet weaver’s songs, rendered as calculated lines and shaded planes on graph paper.

These textile works, precursors to the artist’s research on pattern singing, set theoretical instructions into practice. Redjaian first creates the draft, marking a rhythm on paper and providing a pattern for the weavers who continue the work within their own set of guided measures.

Once the handwoven textile is returned to the artist, she applies the final stitches of lines and luminous lithograph imprints, completing her collaborative experiment developed within potential disorder. Mountain (2020), made with threads and lithographed on hand-woven textile, is composed of a crimson rectangular mass centered on the natural fabric within which thin stripes diagonally rise towards one another and meet at a pointed peak.

This is not a fast process, Redjaian describes: the work unravels itself from the artist and travels to the weaver’s workshop, returning to her only after the weaver has decided that the job is complete. This expression of whimsy, both hers and the weaver’s combined, locates a distinctive language within the structured rhythm of the work.

 There is a power of attraction in the works of Redjaian that draws us into the woven threads and bars of graphite. The intimacy between the lines and the shapes that hover above them in luminous watered-down translucency pull one another within a field of magnetism. The arrangement of marks on the surface are an exploration in memory and an approach to mark-making that is minimal in form, and part of a larger iterative system that instills the works with the dimension of duration and time. A collage of acrylic and tracing paper creates planes that delineate fragments of form and duration in Field I (2019), where short and calculated strokes of white paint are stacked in rows across and down a grid, superimposed by a translucent beige trapezoid. While in Field II (also 2019), white strokes blanket those made earlier in gold. Cast within a system marked by rhythmic duration, their count populates the paper in a transparency that creates space and texture as they hover above the grid, their abstract mass of vertical dashes furrowing the surface. The marks appear minimal in form, the brevity of each line might suggest this, but within these lines is a particle inside of a larger iterative system and a rendering of time marked with each stroke and space in between.

With every marking, a unit, a knot, a node, Redjaian’s drawings on paper and woven textile explore the limits of space, systems, structure, and the metaphysical. Embracing a journey that is always already mapped out by a system, the artist fulfills the work, marking the surface, one line and one square at a time, rendering her deep rhythmic reflection in a palette of black, white and gray, indigo and maroon, shimmering gold and deep crimson.