Leila Heller Gallery New York is pleased to present an exhibition of recent works by Pouran Jinchi. Drawing on diverse cultural sources including literature, history, folk art and religion, Jinchi has developed a visual vocabulary that inhabits the space between abstraction and calligraphy. Working in a realm that is defined by the overlapping fields of painting, sculpture, drawing, and writing, her art practice entails a conversation between the materials she uses and the subjects she addresses. Inscription in her art becomes a visual apparatus beyond meaning. Jinchi produces textual landscapes that are recognizable yet illegible.
Jinchi’s new body of work is an artistic response to pervasive social and political violence. Revisiting Sadegh Hedayat’s modernist classic, The Blind Owl, Jinchi explores the universal tropes of pain and violence threaded throughout the novel. One particular passage is explored repeatedly across various mediums – “I write only for my shadow, which is cast on the wall in front of the light. I must introduce myself to it.” Jinchi dismantles the text, drawing fragments of the letters onto patches of paper that are then stitched together with copper thread into quilts. She paints the sentence onto raw canvases where the characters evoke a battlefield strewn with the wounded. Each line of the first page of the book is rendered into sculptural form; Jinchi painstakingly cuts each letter from a sheet of copper, forming it into abstract shapes by hand, and stringing it onto a chain fabricated from copper safety pins.
Hedayat’s text is compulsively altered, distorted and reassembled into artworks that are intricate, ornate, and vibrant. Jinchi draws her palate from the colors of a bruise as it heals—blue, fuschia, red, purple, and black. By making utterly beautiful pieces in rich hues to represent pain and violence, Jinchi disrupts visual perception. Only by looking beyond the surface, can one see the complex interrelations between divergent elements across the exhibit.
Currently living and working in New York City, Pouran Jinchi was born in Iran and studied engineering before becoming an artist. Her work has been collected and exhibited by Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi, and many other institutions worldwide. Her paintings are currently on view at the 56th Venice Biennale through November 2015.