Metamorphoses of Radiance

June 28 - July 9 2024

Mehdi Sharafi

Press Release

Pictorial space is always visible in any situation, and we can discover and interpret its dynamics and characteristics based on this visibility. Hence, "seeing" provides the conditions for the formation of painting. In response to the question, “what then does painting paint?” we can refer to Eliane Escoubas' statement: "Painting depicts the conditions of visibility according to their historical modality and not the conditions of reproducing reality." This theory emphasizes that "the space of painting is above all a space of manifestation and not a space of representation." Escoubas advanced this interpretation based on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's definition of painting. From Merleau-Ponty's point of view, "space radiates in painting"; he calls painting a "radiant space." Based on such an approach, space in painting does not expand but radiates, and it is radiation that causes the formation and appearance of the pictorial space. When a painter paints, the space shines, the movement begins, and a new world is formed.
When we encounter a set of pictorial spaces, we are surrounded by parallel worlds that radiate toward us. In such a situation, we are involved in the historical way of seeing the radiant space. This historical method can enable the expansion of space through the metamorphoses that occurs amidst these radiations. "Metamorphoses of Radiance" places different pictorial spaces together in this way. It includes a collection of works from several different series, particularly the three series "The Other", "Duet", and "Last Day – or When the Landscapes Are to Come".
In "Metamorphoses of Radiance", we encounter various patterns of historical methods for creating pictorial space, which explore historical and human concepts within a critical context. These radiant spaces generate various forms of metamorphoses at the moment of radiation due to the pictorial codes they transmit. These patterns can be divided into several categories: works themselves are composed of various parts, and at the moment of radiation, they develop intra-spatial metamorphoses within a painting based on the transfers between pictorial boundaries. The works from "The Other” and "Duet” series exhibit such characteristics. Works that are considered adaptations of art history and, due to their contemporary tone, have rendered historical metamorphoses in an anachronistic state, striving to establish multi-layered dialogues with other pictorial spaces through the contemporary tone they have adopted. These works are selected from the "Last Day" series. A significant part of "Metamorphoses of Radiance " includes subjective landscapes or subjective narratives selected from all three series. These subjective-pictorial e explorations explore human situations through a historical-ritual approach.
At first, the eyes navigate within the space of each of these parallel worlds, a process that makes different components of the pictorial space visible. The process of "the moment the image becomes visible" takes place; the eclecticism of this process with the waves radiated from the next painting forms the transfer and metamorphosis between the two pictorial spaces, and this rhythmic metamorphosis continues as each painting becomes visible.
"Metamorphoses of Radiance places" us in a historical context, a visual-subjective movement rooted in the historical manifesting patterns of pictorial space, whose essence is tension, silence, and movement. This radiating event can start from the meeting with the "analysis of the other problem," which is based on a subjective encounter with this problem, and continue to the identity challenges of the pictorial space in "Duets", which are formed based on boundaries and transfers. As the eyes move through these radiant waves, they explore the dialogue between subjective landscapes and adaptations from art history. In the next step, within the context of human narratives such as "Distortion" and "Abraham," based on ritual-historical references, another manifestation of these Metamorphoses of Radiance unfolds before our eyes, completing this cycle of radiation.
We find ourselves amidst a multi-layered dialogue within the realm of the pictorial space. A dialogue that is formed on the basis of questioning in the context of human history and tries to advance our understanding layer by layer by connecting different parts of this pictorial event. "Metamorphoses of Radiance" represents a trance-like state, deriving meaning from the act of seeing. In this event, the pictorial equivalents chosen for these subjective-historical transfers flow in the context of the pictorial space and are thrown toward our eyes. These paintings define patterns of pictorial space manifestation that have the ability to advance this visual dialogue. "Metamorphoses of Radiance " encourages us to search for a new manifestation of the pictorial world in these conversations and pictorial radiations.


- Mehdi Sharafi