With precise sensibility and a concept of resistance, Toulu Hassani probes the essentials and parameters of painting and its properties. Her initial interest lies in exploring and grasping structures and orders. In a second step, she breaks with the given dispositions and criteria and uses the primary material to generate detours, turning points, and deviations from the norm:
Arrangements, relations, and measurements routinely follow a pattern; they are organized in relation to the standards. A critique of standardizations places emphasis on the undefined and the potentially possible, on the not-yet-realized, the unexpected, and that which is not provided by the standard. Hassani acts in the same manner, expressing the unadjusted, the idiosyncratic, and contingencies in her work, thereby exploring the subject of unpredictability and randomness in a subtle way.
In this process, like in Persian miniature painting, patience, inspiration, a talent for drawing, and a sensibility for colors are important traits for Toulu Hassani to possess in order to create her works. The artist combines her unbiased approach to the patterning and textile peculiarities of the stretched canvas with delicate coloring, thus giving her material analyses a customized touch.
In Persian miniature painting, the poetic symbiosis of text, image, and lettering saw its heyday from the thirteenth century on. The images sought to attain the ideal harmony of arrangement, brushwork, and coloring. Hassani’s abstract works also tie in with these objectives. The lines in Timurid paintings, seemingly bleeding into infinity, reappear in Hassani’s work, and some of her works recall seemingly infinite representations of Earth and the cosmos. Additionally, the delicate interpretations of grids and structures are reminiscent of ancient lettering styles, such as the Sumerian cuneiform script.
Toulu Hassani was born in Iran and studied at the Braunschweig University of Art in Walter Dahn’s master class, among others. In 2014, she was a resident at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York and was amongst the “New Positions” at Art Cologne 2016. In late 2016, she will be awarded the Sprengel Prize for Fine Art of the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung [Lower Saxony Savings Bank Foundation] within the framework of a solo exhibition at the Sprengel Museum Hannover. (S. Kunz)