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Hayv Kahraman (Iraqi, b. 1981)
The Triangle
signed with the artist's monogram (upper left)
oil on linen
44 x 66in. (111.7 x 167.6cm.)
Painted in 2012

Lot Essay

'Inspiration for this piece stems from a quote by inventor, architect and mathematician Buckminster Fuller: 'a plain geometrical figure as an example is a triangle. A triangle is an area bound by a close line with three edges and three angles. A circle is an area bound by a closed line of equal radius from a point. A square is an area bound by four equal sides and four equal angles. All the geometrical figures are areas bound by a closed line. Which is then teaching our children that that which is reliable and computable is always on one side of the line only. On the other side of the line we don't have any definition because it goes to infinity therefore it cannot be definable. There is then a basic bias. Only our family is safe because we are on the understandable side of the line, our town, our country, etc.''
(Hayv Kahraman, 2012).

In The Triangle, the young Iraqi artist Hayv Kahraman reveals her fascination by geometry in a serene composition revolving around the feminine body. Inspired by the well-known American theorist, architect and engineer Buckminster Fuller, Kahraman unveils the attached strings between her paintings, the theoretical background of her work and her social concerns.

According to Buckminster Fuller, the triangle is the basic structural unit of the universe and Kahraman in turn believes that the human body and the universe are interconnected. Here, the artist depicts three beautiful women in fashionable, colourful and geometrical patterned dresses, each pointing to an extreme angle of the triangle made of strings at their feet in a graceful mise-en-scène.

The elegant and melancholic women are portrayed with a demure grace and become archetypal depictions of the idealised feminine body. With their delicate emotionless faces and fashionable looks, they reveal the diversity of Hayv Kahraman's cultural inheritance. Born in Iraq in 1981, the artist indeed travelled around the world and found inspiration in Persian miniature art, traditional Japanese prints, Italian Renaissance painting, Art Nouveau and fashion illustrations.

Beyond a seemingly decorative and lyrical composition deprived of any perspective, Kahraman alludes to a wider reality in which the human body takes centre stage. While the underlying issues of gender and diaspora are still at the heart of her work, with the present lot Kahraman explores the body as a cultural construct and rethinks the bond between body and space. Her painterly style is infused with her rich artistic inheritance and her observation of the contemporary world. The Triangle allows the viewer to embark on a journey through life and art, beyond any cultural and aesthetic confinement.

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