Poetic Quarrel - Vernissage

Text by Nahal Vahdat, Poetic Quarrel Catalog, 2007, Michael Banks Gallery, Montreal, Canada

In the simplest of ways, Iqbal Lahoori has exposed the tumultuous relationship between two opposites: a shore that is still and stagnant in nature, and a wave that is in constant motion, ever-changing. The taunting words of the wave, “Standing still means inexistence; I’m in movement. Yes! I am” exhibit an overpowering presence and animosity towards the shore’s immobility. This dialogue is subscribed within a modernist worldview between past and present, tradition and modernity. The artist scratches the surface of this dichotomy with the tip of his brush, slowly inviting the viewer to not only consider, but perhaps indulge in the possibility that vibrancy lies outside of ideals of modernity. In doing so, Amir unapologetically confronts the very question that this literary piece inspires: Can there be life without movement? The artist utilizes disruption of linearity and points of constraint in juxtaposition with free-hand circular strokes in order to demonstrate the literal conflict between the two contrasting entities.

A palpable shift towards the past is the driving force behind this second series. In it, Baradaran pays homage to 1950s-70s Iranian avant-garde artists such as filmmaker Taghvai and, more notably, the painter, Kalantari. This panel, which also included influential poets and painters, aspired to breakdown the boundaries of modernity and indulged in portraying the many splendors of their tradition. Inspired by this philosophy, Baradaran is inviting the viewer to acknowledge the vitality of these artists’ works through his own paintings. Amir consciously creates a visual return to the center and, in great part, to spirituality. The celebratory state ascribed to the so-called modernist wave is no longer a mere hint; it has now taken a more prominent shape through the unremitting use of the word “Hé” for “Hastam” (I exist), written in Persian calligraphy. As an art form, the calligraphy of the word “Hé” in the shape of two intertwined circles, is beautifully incorporated within the prevalent circular forms themselves. The artist incorporates rosary beads as a final testament to the ever-changing self. The wave that hits the shore and retreats is parallel