Navine G. Khan-Dossos’s practice of contemporary aniconism – the absence of figuration in art – bridges her rich training in Islamic art and the geometric abstractions of digital aesthetics.
In Command: Print Khan-Dossos presents two series of work, the Printer Paintings (2013) and Remaining and Expanding (2016), both of which foreground gridded colour studies, printing and digital technologies through a subtractive approach to painting.
The Printer Paintings are composed from the principal tones of colour printing – CMYK and grey. Superimposed rectangular elements represent printer cartridges, with one of the four ink colours taken in turn as the main hue of each panel. Coloured units are contrasted with dazzling white in an almost moiré, chequered design.
Remaining and Expanding comes out of the artist’s ongoing research into Islamic State propaganda, and in particular its online magazine Dabiq. Thirty-six panel paintings are constructed from the design and layouts of page-spreads from one issue; transformed – in the absence of their controversial contents – into pure form and colour so the viewer can consider the structures rather than content of propaganda. The palette is made up of CMYK and RGB, moving from the printed image to the screen image. The installation of the series in the gallery imagines the issue before publication, as a set of mock-ups in some unknown editorial office or bunker.
In these works, the matteness of gouache paint translates the qualities of screen resolution into an analogue surface. “The paint is never trying to compete with the perfect reproduction qualities of a pixelated screen,” the artist comments, “rather it is there to draw you into the work, to see the edges, the failures, the human hand making the mark.”
Navine G. Khan-Dossos (b. 1982, London) is a visual artist based in Athens. Her interests include Orientalism in the digital realm, geometry as information and decoration, and image calibration. She has exhibited and worked with institutions including Serpentine Galleries (London), the Museum of Islamic Art (Doha), Witte de With (Rotterdam), the Van Eyck Academie (Maastricht), the Delfina Foundation (London), Leighton House Museum (London), the Benaki Museum (Athens), and the A.M. Qattan Foundation (Ramallah).