Nastaran Shahbazi. Wild Roses

30 May 2024 – 20 Jul 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Save Event: Nastaran Shahbazi. Wild Roses2

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The Hole is pleased to present Wild Roses, a solo exhibition by Nastaran Shahbazi, the artist's first with the gallery.


Across sixteen new paintings Nastaran Shahbazi provides gatherings, joy and poetry. The human figures are alive: dancing, peeling fruits, kissing. From Goya’s picnic to a memory of the mountains in her mother’s hometown in Iran, the references carry the nostalgic sweetness of painting from memory, enchanting us with optimism and conjuring conviviality. The Paris-based painter captures the poetic nuances of revelry and from optimism comes freedom: Shahbazi’s figures populate vivid fields of color, inviting viewers to project their own joy and memories onto each interaction.

With notes of Manet, Degas, Renoir, Matisse or Toulouse-Lautrec, Shahbazi conjures a half-remembered tune of 19th century styles with modern and personal motives. Food and drinks will be served: many paintings have people déjeune-ing in herbe or stacking up the empty wine glasses in a dark cafe. In Nowhere Land a woman dances with a fish while two embrace; musicians play accordions and violins while a figure sculpts. In The Red Room a bevy of Degas ballerinas twirl in what looks like a karaoke bar. A blurred scene of chandeliers and dancing couples in Blue Lobster is perhaps a window or giant mirror, a composition that shares the Parisian richness and perspectival ambiguity of Manet's “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère”. The title of the exhibition refers to Van Gogh’s “Wild Roses” painting, while the words of Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad seep into the subject matter of the paintings and their mood.

The figures are charming yet anonymous, the unseen strangers of the quotidian. They are not protagonists but the extras in the film, the dinner date at the table next to you. Her subjects come from her travels: living in Hong Kong and Paris, she depicts both personal and shared memories, holding an accessible intimacy that reflects the ways loved-ones disperse. With the Iranian diaspora spread so globally, the people she knows are everywhere.

Van Gogh’s "Wild Roses" paintings were created in the gardens of the psychiatric clinic in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, while Van Gogh was suffering a severe mental crisis. The pain of the painter is hidden in plain sight, sorrow and melancholy grown over by flowers, while the artist shows the viewer serenity and beauty. In Nastaran’s work, sorrow stays similarly silent, pouring optimism into each painting and reworking compositions that start to show too much of life’s sadness. She has painted away the sadness for us, the lucky viewer, inviting us to soak in a wistful beauty of being alive.

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Nastaran Shahbazi

Nastaran Shahbazi


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