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Farhad Ahrarnia | Lawrie Shabibi
"Farhad Ahrarnia was born in Shiraz in 1971 and holds a degree in Experimental and Documentary Film Theory and Practice from the Northern Media School, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

Farhad Ahrarnia’s practice comprises a diverse range of meticulously crafted works that cover questions of ideological narratives, national identity and intercultural exchange. He is deeply influenced by the traditions of his hometown Shiraz; his methodology consists of ancient techniques associated with its indigenous culture such as embroidery, metalwork and mosaic to draw on sociocultural constructions and motives that reference national codes. The series of silver-plated copper dustpans and shovels embossed with fragments of Shiraz, explore Iran’s perished glory. With a sense of irony, these mundane utensils are transformed to recall the country’s historical richness and forgotten grandeur.

Another key influence is Kazimir Malevich, the works of that modernist Suprematism being reminiscent of the urban labyrinth that was Shiraz in the seventies and eighties, where Ahrarnia grew up amidst modernist architecture overlaying ancient ruins to create a dynamic city. The sublime beauty and quasi-religious experience inherent to Malevich’s work address a universality which is transcendent of national cultures and identities.

Iconic models of American culture such as Hollywood portraiture, beauty pageants, Time magazine covers or heroic war photography are overlaid with embroidery which imbues them a further layer of meaning - tactile, personal and immersive, inviting reflection on the actual significance of these otherwise self-evident images. The stitching and loose threads inflicted on these mass-distributed images symbolize their media-constructed nature and the ideologies and power structures that are embedded within.

By juxtaposing traditional Orientalist craft techniques and paragons of popular culture, Ahrarnia thus explores the dichotomy between Islamic traditions and Western society’s aspiration for progress and modernity."

[See also:

"Farhad Ahrarnia | “Something for the Touts, the Nuns, the Grocery Clerks and You”"

"Lawrie Shabibi is delighted to welcome back Farhad Ahrarnia for his second solo exhibition at the gallery opening on 8 February. The exhibition brings together new works from his ongoing wall-based Khatam series based on the sparse compositions of Max Bill, El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich alongside a new series entitled Something for the Touts, the Nuns, the Grocery Clerks and You, which comprise works on cardboard with gilded illuminations painted on their surfaces."

"Farhad Ahrarnia Fuses High And Low Art At Lawrie Shabibi"

"The Iranian artist’s exhibition mixes his ongoing Khatam series with a new series that elevates the humble cardboard box with gilded illuminations
Something for the Touts, the Nuns, the Grocery Clerks and You, Farhad Ahrarnia’s second solo exhibition at Lawrie Shabibi in Dubai, takes its playful name from the poem of the non-conformist Charles Bukowski.

This is an exhibition of two apparently contrasting halves. First, the refined Khatam with their intricate patterns formed of precious materials and then Ahrarnia's new series of reused cardboard boxes, stamped with Made in Iran logos. Yet, on closer inspection, these apparently worthless pieces of cardboard, which once contained everyday, locally-manufactured products such as kerosene lamps and hair spray, are embellished with delicate passages of Tazhib or gilding, a traditional technique of drawing patterns. Through such contrasting detail, Ahrarnia intends to “raise their significance and cultural value, turning them into critical and self-referential art.”

They are a commentary on the contrasts of contemporary Iran; a modern industrial society that still clings steadfastly to its rich cultural history. Through these pieces, Ahrarnia puts his own spin on Bukowski’s Dickensian way of exploring the “We have everything and we have nothing” paradox, a comment on the societal chasm that exists in Iranian society. Imbued with literary and artistic subtext, this series also takes a cue from the cardboard-based 1970s works of US artist Robert Rauschenberg.

Seemingly in contrast, yet sharing many of the same traditonal Iranian motifs, are new pieces from Ahrarnia’s ongoing Khatam series. For these creations, Ahrarnia explores the more lavish, “high art” side of Iran’s cultural history, employing the micro-mosaic technique of Khatam, using materials such as ivory, camel bone, wood, copper, silver and brass to create jewel-like, geometric patterns.

Although Ahrarnia is now largely based in the UK city of Sheffield, he remains strongly influenced by the traditions of his hometown Shiraz. Craft is the heart of Ahrarnia’s creations and both collections here use age-old Iranian techniques, fused with more modern geometric and abstract elements. Some particularly bear the influence of early 20th century Russian Constructivist art, reflecting the artist's admiration of the Russian Suprematist Kazimir Malevich in the strong geometry of their composition.

Through these works, Ahrarnia seems to say that, despite industrialisation, tradition still provides the unifying force behind Iranian society."

"Opening tonight: Farhad Ahrarnia at Lawrie Shabibi"

"An interesting collection of art is going up at Lawrie Shabibi Gallery in Dubai for their new exhibition. Something for the Touts, the Nuns, the Grocery Clerks and You is the title of the exhibition by Farhad Ahrarnia that opens at the gallery at 6pm tonight. The main body of the show consists of cardboard collected from Shiraz, Esfahan and Tehran in Iran with gilded illuminations painted on their surfaces. There are also new pieces from his on-going wall-based Khatam series. There is therefore, a mix of high art ornamentation and discarded cardboard boxes. The artist is interested in the potential of traditional craft, emphasising its engagement with the modern and embedding various cultural sensibilities onto two seemingly incongruous surfaces.

The unusual title is taken from a poem by Charles Bukowski, a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer who was notorious for writings that were influenced by his home surroundings and the impact of modernisation and industrialisation on the poor and working classes."]
art  artists  iran  farhadahrarnia  lawrieshabibi  cardboard  mosaics  khatam  robertrauschenberg  gilding 
february 2017 by robertogreco | A collection of text graphics and related works, stretching back thousands of years. 2012-2014
"Daily posts of text graphics and related works, stretching back thousands of years. Textiles, BBS-graphics, poetry, mosaic, typography, and much more. More than 5000 images collected by Raquel Meyers and Goto80. was launched in february 2012 in order to collect quality text graphics in one place. We selected our favourites from archives such as asciiarena, sixteencolors, utf8art and ANSIart but also wanted to show other media and formats.

Over time the focus broadened and shifted from technological concepts to aesthetics, which opened up for things like pottery, architecture and square kufic. We also started to ask ourselves how relevant it was to use character encodings such as ASCII and Unicode to categorize the works, since it was often either difficult or irrelevant. was launched in March 2014 to archive 2000+ posts properly, outside of Tumblr. Both places are now updated with the same material but here it is easier to search. For example, you can combine two tags to find emoticons from the 1800s, animations in ASCII or teletext graphics by Raquel Meyers.

If you find any errors or have suggestions, or if you want to have your works removed from here, please get in touch. If a post is missing a source link or hi-res image, you can try to find it at instead.

Formats and media:

ASCII – EU/US-centric encoding of 128 characters
ANSI – Colourful and more advanced than ASCII
Antiope – French teletext standard used for Minitel
Architecture – yes
ATASCII – ASCII-encoding for Atari’s 8-bit computers
Baudot – pre-ASCII encoding, often used for teletype
BBS – bulletin board systems, popular pre-internet platforms
Braille – tactile writing system for the visually impaired
EBCDIC – IBM’s encoding that competed with ASCII in the 1960s
FANSI – An ANSI-variation that supports 256 colours, among other things
Minitel – French videotex-service 1982-2012
PETSCII – Used in Commodore 8-bit computers.
RTTY – Radio Teletype
shift-JIS – “Japanese Unicode”
SharpSCII – “Japanese PETSCII”
SMS – mobile phone text messages
teletext – information service for TV, still popular in north EU
Telidon – Canadian videotex service, also featuring vector graphics
Unicode – currently the most widely used encoding
videotex – a two-way communication, based on teletext
xbin – a variation of ANSI

Artists and groups:

A. Bill Miller American ASCII artist. Glitches & grids!
Blocktronics (b. 2008) International group of ANSI and ASCII-artists.
Dom Sylvester Houédard (b. 1924) British typewriter artist and poet
CTRL+C & CTRL+V Generic anonymous name on Japanese text forum.
Joan Stark Early American internet-ASCII artist
Julian Nelson Typewriter-activist and artist, active since the 1930s
Max Capacity American artist working with PETSCII and teletext, etc
Raquel Meyers Spanish artist, working with PETSCII and teletext
Vuk Ćosić Serbian artist, bringing lots of ASCII into the art world

(more coming)


Animation – Anything that moves
Cross stitch
Scene – Oldschool hacker style
Square kufic -
χχχ – Naked stuff

Time periods:

text  textgraphics  blogs  ascii  mosaics  typography  poetry 
april 2014 by robertogreco

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