As if None of Us Had Ever Been Here Before
10 February – 10 March 2022
Josh Lilley is thrilled to present Iman Raad’s debut show with the gallery, his first exhibition in London.
Across four large canvases and eight reverse glass panel paintings, the Iranian Brooklyn-based artist brings together a sweeping re-imagining of traditional Persian painting amidst the interrup-tion of images and narratives in the internet era. Oscillating between disparate areas of knowledge, Raad references a culture indexically rooted within his thoughts. Curiosity is given a place to breathe. Images are fractured or incomplete. Moments from Matisse, Caulfield, or Mughal paint-ing are filtered into a language of comfort and contented longing, memories of a smell of a place far away; a repetition of imagery and colour whose intention is to keep you in a dream. Paintings representing a disturbance to reality.
Raad is a still-life painter whose objects tumble and waiver, provoked by swathes of restless birds. Deep tonal flourishes in his large canvases are augmented by a restless energy across his multi-ple panel works - enhanced by the technique of careful depiction on the reverse side of the glass. Originating in the early 16th century in Europe, and spreading to the Middle East at the beginning of the 19th century, reverse painting on glass relies on light reflected from its surface for its unique appearance. It differs therefore from stained glass with translucent colours viewed by transmitted light. Through this prism of layer and colour, Raad has found a necessary platform to touch on both the complexities and beauty of cross cultural expression today.
Iman Raad (Mashhad, Iran 1979) works across a variety of media, including painting, drawing, embroidery, graphic work and performance lectures. He received his MFA in Painting and Print-making from Yale University (2017), and was the artist in residence at the Queens Museum Studio Program (2018-20). He lives and works in New York City and teaches at The Cooper Union School of Art. Recent exhibitions include Reflections: contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa at the British Museum, London, UK (2021), Contemporary Art from Asia, Australia and the Pacific at the Centro Cultural La Moneda, Santiago, Chile (2019), the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contem-porary Art at QAGOMA Brisbane, Australia (2018), Standing Still, Lying Down, As If at the Mu-seum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) (2018), and The Flag Art Foundation in New York (2018). He has exhibited with Dastan Gallery in Tehran, and Sargent’s Daughters in New York.