Habib Farajabadi’s intransigence in the pursuit of his vision is nothing less than a never-ending search for the sublime. Farajabadi’s polychromatic canvases are a resounding quest of the artist’s all consuming, over whelming lover’s quarrel with paint and canvas. As delectable as they are raw, his paintings court chaos with their sweeps of disrupted syntax that transcend the viewer’s ability to process them in the conscious way.
Insisting on his canvases remaining unprepared and untreated in the conventional way of painting, Farajabadi conceives his work in a unique manner: the canvases are turned over and heavily stitched together in an uncanny resemblance to a “barrier”, after which the artist proceeds to paint on the reverse side of these gesso free surfaces. His cascading drips of paint penetrate through his raw canvases, seeping through to the other side. The vibrant and vivacious colors gush through the permeable skin-like barrier of the canvas bringing the paintings to life, whereas in contrast, the skin on us acts as a barrier to hold life within.
A symphony of paint crashes through canvas in every conceivable manner: it is slathered, swiped, dry brushed, splattered, dribbled, wiped with rags, smeared with fingers, slapped from a brush and smashed from a tube. Swirls of deep greens, oranges and reds jostle, the persimmons and cerulean blues fade in and out, blooming over and over again, all brought together by a maelstrom of fiery application. As the eye moves out towards the edge of the composition, these torrents of paint draw attention to delicate drawings stitched in thread spreading across the sprawling canvases- the only imagery in the otherwise heavily abstracted works.
Farajabadi’s work is rich in a lyricism punctuated by cryptic “blank” spaces, and in so doing, liberating the viewer in its own, poetic manner- precisely the qualities that German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno discerned in Beethoven’s final works, in which “still” is liberated; as never before.
From a host of possible precedents, Paul Cezanne seems the most influential. Just like in Cezanne’s work, Farajabadi’s paper and canvas assume a luminous life, galvanizing the pigment that touches them so that it appears to dance on an almost metaphysical plane, rather than mere flat marks upon a two-dimensional surface.
Favoring extreme abstraction, Farajabadi nevertheless betrays a predilection for the human figure and a penchant for raw, unschooled drawing. His preference for graffiti is also undeniable through his work. In a Picasso-esque manner, he incorporates both brashness and aggression into his drawings of anatomical figures, all rendered in bold, assertive colors. Much like Cy Twombly, the graphic nature of Farajabadi’s technique possesses indisputable communicative powers, the present work being an embodiment of the artist’s inimitable vernacular.
Habib Farajabadi, b. 1982. is a self taught Iranian artist from Shahrood, Iran. Though never having received any formal training in the arts and unable yet to exit Iran without a military service, Farajabadi has made a name for himself through prolific exhibitions both within Iran and abroad. His some of his recent exhibitions include those at Gallery Rotor2, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, The Next Generation: Contemporary Iranian Calligraphy, Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zurich, Switzerland and at the Norrbottens Museum, Sweden. He is currently living and working in Tehran, Iran. His work is represented by Endjavi-Barbe Art Projects.