Until April 28, 2023, Lawrie Shabibi is holding All Borrow Their Light, the solo exhibition of artist and sculptor Timo Nasseri. The show features a selection of his geometric works: the latest large-scale painting “Atlas” (2023) and earlier series “I Am a Sky Where Spirits Live” (2022–2023), as well as sculptures.
The paintings from the “I Am a Sky Where Spirits Live” series are inspired by the Razzle Dazzle camouflage: in World War I and II, the British and U.S. Navy used it as a tactic to avoid detection. The vivid recurring forms in Atlas remind one of kaleidoscopic patterns and include fractals, indigenous traditions, and elements of animal camouflage and Cubism art style.
Islamic architecture, in particular, Muqarnas, a decorative geometric ornamentation from the 10th-11th century that was usually built into the underside of domes and arches, is one of the biggest sources of inspiration for Nasseri. In the exhibition, one can look at works from his “Epistrophy” and “One and One”, the series of sculptures (2007–present) and the series of drawings (2008–present), respectively, in which he explores the Muqarnas.
“Epistrophy #8” (2017), a geometric sculpture made of polished steel, repeats a shape of the internal structure of a Muqarnas and is embedded in the wall. When one looks at the artwork, its mirrored surface reflects the surroundings in numerous ways. This fragmented reflection of the space recreates the geometric structure of the Muqarnas, which at the time was portrayed as a whole universe of possible forms.
The “One and One #49” (2023) work is from the series of intricate geometric drawings. Nasseri uses white ink, a ruler, and a compass to create a Muqarnas pattern on black paper. A repeating pattern starts from a central point and then expands using triangles arranged in a particular rhythm, thus creating an exquisite combination of geometry and mathematics.
In the exhibition, there are also Nasseri’s series titled “Teardrop Vessels” and one of the works from his “Unknown Letters” series. The first series comprises 80 clay sculptures in various forms, sizes, and shades of charcoal grey. The artist made them in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Unknown Letters” consists of four sculptures made of walnut in the shape of an imagined Arabic letter. They were inspired by Ibn Muqla (885–940, Baghdad), a calligrapher who tried to add four letters to the Arabic alphabet. While doing research of the Arabic script and alphabet, Nasseri realised that the calligrapher might have seen missing letters in the stars. The artist created his own letters using the shapes of constellations in the stars that existed during the time of Ibn Muqla.
About the artist
Timo Nasseri (b. 1972, Berlin, Germany) is a multidisciplinary artist who resides in Berlin. In 1997, he graduated from the Lette-Verein, Berlin, with a Diploma in Photography. Nasseri’s art practice involves photography, sculpture, and drawing; he works with a full range of materials: stainless steel, mirrors, ceramics, etc. In his art, Nasseri delves into such themes as geometry, mathematics, architecture, and calligraphy.
Nasseri has taken part in numerous exhibitions: Mercedes-Benz Contemporary (2022); Museum Konkrete Kunst Ingolstadt (2022); The Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2021); Stichting Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen (2018); The Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (2017); The Melbourne Triennale (2017); and many others. His art pieces can be found in the public collections of Sammlung Daimler Chrysler, Berlin; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Spenser Museum of Art, Kansas; David Roberts Collection, British Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
To learn more about All Borrow Their Light, please visit its official web page.