Preview: Saturday 14 January 2023 (1-4pm)
Exhibition: 15 January – 18 February 2023

Press Release
PDF catalogue of works

“When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken
Do not clutch it
Let the wound lie open
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell
And let it ring
Let it go.
Let it out.
Let it all unravel.
Let it free and it can be
A path on which to travel.”

A poem by poet Michael Leunig underlies the inspiration for a new body of work by Iranian painter Hamid Yaraghchi. Yaraghchi’s debut solo exhibition at the gallery, Let the Wound Lie Open, is a staggeringly emotive and technically extraordinary body of paintings. The works are an investigation into the aesthetics of abject motifs that focus primarily on the human body as a symbol of beauty and revulsion.

Yaraghchi presents the human form as compromised, incomplete, and functionless, challenging and even tainting the traditions of figurative and scenic painting. Lurking somewhere between transcendence and ugliness, the works seem to beckon the viewer with their palpability and corporeality – both in subject matter and technical handling. For Yaraghchi, these paintings concern the “representation of the human body in tragical transience or incompleteness, in connection with the different spaces, especially nature and its elements.” There is a kind of obsession with the circular passage of life, where one is reminded of mortality: from birth to death to decay and transcendence, in a similar manner to how the Old Masters favoured the memento mori. But Yaraghchi draws attention to ideas of the grotesque, which – in the day of NFTs, social media ‘image perfection’, and Photoshop – seem like scary, or at least forgotten concepts. We are a society obsessed with youth, with the perfection of the image, and with that comes a suppression of imagery that contests that. Yaraghchi’s reality (or nightmare/dreamscape) is one where pleasure and ecstasy are levied or contrasted with pain, sadness, or tragedy. Leunig’s poem (above) lyrically expresses these sentiments: to welcome life’s various pains and pleasures. For Yaraghchi, it appears that these ideas are explored through the act of painting, the glory, and decadence of his materiality akin to the sensuousness and corporeality of life itself.

HAMIDREZA YARAGHCHI (B. 1984, Tehran, Iran) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden in 2020. Solo exhibitions include: Suspicious Reality, Antonstadt Gallery, Dresden, Germany (2019) and; Banal Memories, Hübner and Hübner Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany (2016). Group exhibitions include: Existenz-Chapter II, Academy of Fine Arts Dresden, Germany (2020); Prospektive, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria (2019) and; 453:32 Visions, Maryam Fasihi Harandi Gallery, Tehran, Iran (2018).