Iranian artist Golnaz Fathi shares her artistic diaries with the public in her latest solo show at The Third Line

It takes real trust to let someone read your diaries. Iranian artist Golnaz Fathi is bravely opening hers up to the public in Line | Khat, her latest solo show, which runs from November 21 to January 28 at The Third Line in Dubai. Fathi’s artist books are a sort of visual diary, full of delicate lines and careful mark-making. Together, they shed light on her unique practice, which involves deconstructing the traditional Iranian calligraphy she spent years working to master.

Her intimate visual journals explore non-traditional mediums, including ballpoints and rollerballs, as of means of creating diminutive works on paper that contrast dramatically with her huge canvasses, yet betray the same preoccupation with the abstraction of calligraphy. Repeating the same motifs again and again, Fathi creates complex abstract patterns that often appear to be made up of indecipherable letters.

The artist’s new body of work was inspired by a visit to Shanghai, where she came across a series of handmade folded notebooks that reminded her of the notebooks she used to carry as child. She decided to return to the practice of keeping a daily diary, but rather than inscribing her thoughts in words, she conveys them through delicate calligraphy-inspired patterns.

Line | Khat includes a selection of notebooks, along with works on paper and canvas. Fathi’s use of unconventional – even rebellious – materials highlights her interest in re-examining the possibilities of calligraphy as a medium.

Paradoxically, Fathi’s practice of breaking down her medium so that the calligraphy becomes abstract, obscuring its meaning, only makes her work more accessible. Her delicate, meditative patterns convey an emotional message that communicates itself without the need of language.

Golnaz Fathi’s Line | Khat continues at The Third Line in Dubai until January 28

By Irene McConnell