Love is a Difficult Blue is an exhibition of new collaborative works by Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh in which the artists look to women and to nature for inspiration – a key focus since they first collaborated in the early 2000s.
For this new body of work, the artists chose to draw on used Pellon (a synthetic fabric that is commonly used in papermaking) and on paper – their signature medium.
In their individual and collective practices, the artists doggedly question the status of women in society and in art history. This is a central concern to Amer’s work and appears subtly in Farkhondeh’s ‘Broken Landscapes’ series in which repression of women in contemporary times is explored.
When they come together to create work, Amer’s quest for empowering women is combined with Farkhondeh’s vision of the fragility of our lives in relation to nature and society. The result is work that seeks to aesthetically and conceptually engage viewers on notions of beauty, intelligence, and independence of women in a context of perceived repression in technologically advanced societies.
Farkhondeh and Amer welcome the status of combined authorship. Together, they probe boundaries of shape and form, drawing and painting, pencil and brush, collage and sewing. Their work comments on art, literature and social political life, also hinted at in the titles attributed to each work.
Amer is a painter, but also works in ceramics, photography, drawing, and is best known for her erotic embroideries. Earlier this year, she was one of two artists honored at the Smithsonian African Art Awards.
Farkhondeh works across numerous mediums, including video, painting, text, watercolour. He is known for his exploration of ‘99 cent Made-in China’ objects and for his evocative ‘Broken Landscapes’ paintings.
Farkhondeh and Amer’s collaborative works have been shown at Galleria Francesca Minini in Milan, Kukje Gallery in Seoul, Tina Kim Gallery in New York and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, among others.
At the Dakar Biennale in 2018, they will exhibit a comprehensive selection of collaborative drawings made in the 2000s.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by Alain Souchon’s ‘L’amour à la machine’ [Putting love in the washing machine] – a song about putting love through the challenge of a washing machine to see if the original colours of love are still in tact, in which Souchon writes and sings: ‘…Matisse, l’amour c’est bleu difficile’.