The Conference of the Birds
A Solo Exhibition
by Mohammad Barrangi
November 14th, 2020 – January 9th, 2021.
View the exhibition catalogue.
ADVOCARTSY is pleased to present The Conference of the Birds, an exhibition of modern printmaking techniques on handmade paper by Iranian U.K. based artist Mohammad Barrangi. The exhibition explores the epic Iranian mythical poem, Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr, or Conference of the Birds, by Attar of Nishapur. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with ADVOCARTSY and in the United States.
Barrangi’s successful merger of contemporary and ancient attributes transport the viewer to a timeless state, combining elements of the past, present, and future seamlessly in his masterful yet whimsical compositions.
This exhibition is timed in conjunction with the publication of ‘Simorgh’, a book illustrated by Mohammad Barrangi and published in Iran by Madreseh Publication. The exhibition includes many works as included in this book.
Mohammad Barrangi is an illustrator and printmaker. Originally from Iran, he currently lives and works in London.
Barrangi’s artworks combine elements of Persian calligraphy, storytelling and touches of humour. Using a unique creative process with handmade traditional calligraphy pens and a blend of mark making styles, Barrangi creates small pieces that are often expanded into large scale murals. This transformation is achieved through an exploration of laser photocopying, collagraph, and collage. Fusing these elements in one process, the artist creates works that encompass a range of disparate visual motifs, each holding separate connotations of specific eras or cultures, but creating a unique cross-cultural style in combination. This otherworldly body of work is often inspired by ancient Persian scholars as well as the Persian Epic ‘The Conference of the Birds’ by Attar of Nishapur.
Barrangi regularly exhibits in the UK and internationally, and his work has been featured in multiple publications, festivals, and prizes. These include Muestra del IV Premi International, Tragaluz; Pressing Matters; Shape Open 2018: Collective Influence; Illustrate 2018, Portugal; Art TSUM, Kiev; Ratata Festival, Macerata; The 6th International Tokyo Mini-Print Triennial; Bologna Illustrators Exhibition 2018; Story Museum, Oxford; and Hafez Gallery in Saudi Arabia 2019. As of June 2019, two of Barrangi’s works have been acquired by the British Museum for their permanent collection.
The legend of The Conference of the Birds takes the form of an allegorical epic poem where a flock of birds are led by the wisest amongst them to journey through the seven valleys to seek Simorgh, the legendary figure they hope will serve as their sovereign. In the story, each bird represents a human fault which prevents man from reaching enlightenment. The journey is a treacherous one, claiming the lives of many along the way. Despite this, thirty birds make it to the abode of Simorgh, only to realize that they themselves are collectively the Simorgh. In Persian, Simorgh means “thirty” (si) “birds” (morgh). Through this adventure, they eventually come to understand that the majesty of enlightenment is like that of the sun, it can only be observed when reflected in the mirror, meaning that anyone who seeks it will also behold his or her own image.
The story of The Conference of the Birds is a universal one, it is a tale that any individual can find themself in, but one that especially resonates with artist Mohammad Barrangi. Having left his homeland of Iran nearly 3 years ago, Barrangi feels a deep connection to the concept of migration, “something that birds and sometimes humans must do in order to survive.” Through his work, Barrangi reimagines traditional Persian folklore, imbuing each work with a modern energy that expands beyond mythology, echoing across various cultures and generations.
Check out The Conference of the Birds on Mutual Art here.
Watch the Art House’s video about Mohammad and his work here.
Listen to the artist describe his work and process in his own words here, during a workshop he taught at the British Museum.
Learn about the story behind The Conference of the Birds here, through a video made in collaboration with Omid Arabian of YOUniversal Center.
ADVOCARTSY is a collaborative visual arts platform specializing in Iranian contemporary art.
Our mission driven platform focuses on promoting the work of living Iranian artists, we represent a diverse group of artists based all over the world.
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