‘Ideologues of the Game and Other Seekers of the End’ by Majid Fathizadeh at Ab-Anbar Gallery

Ab-Anbar Gallery presents ‘Ideologues of the Game and Other Seekers of the End,’ a curated exhibition by Hannah Feldman that marks the inaugural solo show of Majid Fathizadeh outside his native Iran, where he has been actively creating and exhibiting art since 2003.

Majid Fathizadeh, Self Portrait #1, 2007, Dip pen and ink, 31 x 21.5cm

Spanning two gallery floors, the exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of Fathizadeh’s artistic journey, featuring drawings, paintings, watercolours, and sketchbooks from the past decades. Throughout this period, the artist has developed a painterly style that pays homage to European-style painting traditions, particularly in genres emphasising allegory and symbolism. Simultaneously, Fathizadeh remains rooted in the parallel humanist tradition of Iran. While his work is influenced by specific local historical events, his dark and expansive paintings portray a landscape of human behaviour tainted by the destructive impacts of various ideologies—political, religious, or nationalist. These ideologies, resembling a never-ending game, propagate exclusionary and eliminatory thinking, leading to violent outcomes such as war, oppression, and global eco-genocide.

Majid Fathizadeh, The Flag and the Court, 2017-2023, Oil on canvas, 80 x 120 cm

Central to the exhibition is the notion that the artist, Fathizadeh in this context, is intricately entwined in the “game” of power and privilege. This involvement manifests through the creation and manipulation of art historical forms historically utilised to legitimise narratives of ethnic superiority and colonial impunity. Acknowledging the inherent ideological nature of art, the exhibition seeks to reclaim art from serving the purposes of this game. Instead, it encourages art to articulate counter-narratives that challenge identitarian separations, refusing to conform to expectations within contemporary art practice and disrupting notions of “here” and “there.”

Majid Fathizadeh, Worm’s Hole, 2023, Oil on canvas, 190 x 270 cm

About Majid Fathizadeh

Majid Fathizadeh, born in 1977 in Zahedan, Iran, resides and creates in his homeland, crafting paintings inspired by European Old Masters. His works delve into contemporary chaos, addressing issues like environmental crises, biopolitics, and the relentless human disaster of war. Fathizadeh’s sepia-toned pieces depict a macabre dance within a densely populated underworld, where figures engage in grotesque scenes. Executed on a monumental scale, these unsettling satires showcase a cacophony of visual storytelling with painterly delicacy. Collaborating with Fathizadeh, novelist Jean Claude Carriere praises his ability to reveal a world parallel to ours, inviting viewers to follow him. Fathizadeh has participated in group exhibitions like ‘Speaking from the Heart’ in Amsterdam and ‘History Game’ in Tehran, while his solo shows at prominent galleries, including Azad Art Gallery and Kaaf Foundation in Tehran, have garnered attention.

Location: Ab-Anbar Gallery, London

Dates: 23 January – 24 February, 2024

Caption featured image: Majid Fathizadeh Assimilation, 2023, Ink on Fabriano cardboard, 100 x 150 cm



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