Golnaz Fathi

Language, Form & Composition

A trained calligrapher, Fathi has the ability to skillfully transform known language into form and composition. Having discovered calligraphy while studying graphic design at Tehran’s Azad University, she later left to train at the Calligraphy Association of Iran for six years. As a result, Fathi was the first woman to win an award for Ketabat, a distinct genre of calligraphy. She soon tired of the discipline’s rules and regulations and thus created a new form of expression in her paintings: an imaginary language deeply rooted in Persian tradition while simultaneously hinting at a social renaissance. Her paintings carry traces of meaning that have no known coded alphabet. The strength of her work stems from the drive to express emotions that cannot be pinned down into words; Fathi’s works succeed where language fails.

She has been the subject of solo shows in New York, Shanghai, London, Beirut, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Dubai amongst others. Some of these include, A long line without a word, Pearllam Gallery, Shanghai (2018), Contemplations, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Singapore (2016) khat-Line, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2016), Dance Me to the End of Night, October Gallery, London (2014); Marked: Contemporary Takes on Mark-Making, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York and Hong Kong (2014). Fathi has been exhibited in a number of group shows, including ‘All happens after sunset”, MOCA art pavilion shanghai 2017, Frontier reimagined, Museo di Grimani, Venice biennale 2015, Writing non writing, Museum of Contemporary Art, CAA Hangzhou, China 2015, The Other Half of Iran, Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia (2013); World Stories: Young Voices, Brighton Museum, UK (2012); The Art of Writing, Art Forum of Wiesbaden, Germany (2011); Iran Inside Out, Chelsea Museum, New York (2009) and participated in the International Woman Artists’ Biennial, South Korea (2009). She was also part of Word into Art exhibition at the British Museum (2006). Fathi received the Young Global Leader Award in 2011.

Her works are housed in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, New York; Asian Civilization’s Museum, Singapore; Brighton & Hove Museum, England; The British Museum, London; Carnegie Mellon University, Doha, Qatar; Museum of Islamic Art, Malaysia; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India, World Bank in Washington DC and The Farjam Foundation Dubai.

Follow Golnaz on Instagram @golnazfathi or find out more on her website.