Christie's presents two beautiful works by Hadieh Shafie this season. The present work of Hadieh Shafie is one of the finest, largest and most intricate work ever to come to auction. This is a stunning piece in its combination of two distinct techniques which include her tightly wounded scrolls and linear stacks of paper. While the second piece, 25750 Pages showcases the artist's classical colored circle technique in bright spring hues.
Shafie's influences include the sixteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi, the effects of the 1979 Iranian revolution (particularly the suppression of reading material), high-modernist American color field painting and the mobile body of performance art, which she explored as a graduate student after earning a degree in Fine Art at New York’s Pratt Institute.
Shafie uses scrolls of hand-dyed paper to form a dense surface, concentric colored circles and strips of paper are aligned in a tessellating and kaleidoscopic manner to construct a bas-relief sculptural form of the finalized artwork. Each strip of paper is dyed with acrylic pigments before being rolled by hand one upon another to create a multitude of color combinations and the illusion of depth. The scrolls contain handwritten Farsi text ‘Eshgh’ meaning ‘love’ or ‘passion’ which is inscribed on the paper before the rolling process. She then glues these pages, which are joined into spools, to a flat surface and assembles them as a jigsaw puzzle, framing them in various designs.
The artist’s influence and inspiration from color field painting and abstract expressionism are notably represented in the piece primarily through its large field of flat and solid colors. Her work therefore collapses the boundary between drawing, painting, and sculpture, evoking a sense of both ancient handicrafts and modern pixelation. The artist explains that her work is a visual response to the “emancipating effect that books and poetry held for her.”
Hadieh Shafie’s works have been included in exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, including the Jameel Prize traveling exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Cantor Centre for Visual Arts at Stanford University and the San Antonio Museum of Art. Her work is in numerous public collections worldwide such as the Metropolitan Museum, NY; the Brooklyn Museum, NY; the British Museum, London; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).