Artwork explanation

Reza Mafi had a unique technique, which distinguishes his artworks among hundreds of other artworks. Most of his artworks are brown, with content and text of the same colour, inclined to black. This colour, with a special dignity, gives his artwork an antique and old theme. He was completely avoiding using bright colours and rarely was using them in the content. Mafi was considering both tradition and modernism. Although his artworks are inspired by traditional art, acquisition of new forms was irretrievable principle for him. Visual expression of his artworks is not one-dimensional and his attitude in calligraphic art, gives a major feature to his artworks. This feature was distinguishing him among the contemporary calligraphers and painters. Mafi’s Siah Mashgh (repetition of alphabets) is the representative of his power and innovation, in the traditional calligraphic art. He was writing on canvas, without using paint brush, but by reed pen and ink and he was dominant at different techniques of calligraphy, such as Nastaliq, cursive, Sols, Taliq, Reqa. He was fond of brown colour and for this reason, the dominant colour in his artworks is a variety of this colour’s spectrum. He states: this colour delivers the sense of tradition, experience and perfection. I do not like painting or calligraphy, with the integration of colours and without thinking about the concept. I am not following the western culture and like any national person, who likes the culture of his country, do not let the foreign culture dominate me.

Expert Opinion

“Reza Mafi has fallen from the horse and is no longer alive. It is not fair, death of a person with such a grace, kindness, humility and without any vice and malice, so suddenly. Alas, I should have written elegy, at the same time! While the sorrow of his death was still fresh in my heart. We had been colleagues for many years; I was doing graphics and he was doing calligraphy. He was younger than me, although his hair and bread was going to white. How accurate, active and efficient he was. The crying noise of his pen is still going on in my head. He was one of the pioneers in contemporary calligram and he was not pleased to write Chalipa and Siah Mashgh (repetition of alphabets), continuously. He wanted more, worked more and achieved more, which was the result of his effort. He thoroughly believed in the original shape of Persian Nastaliq in calligraphy, which after six hundred years, is in its productivity peak and the contemporary artist cannot touch it and make major changes in its structure and expect it to stay beautiful. He was putting the original shapes of Nastaliq Calligraphy together and by forming a new composition, he was gaining and delivering new concepts, a concept, which is not related to the combination of tradition and innovation as a common concept among artists. The basis of this, is to combine number of curve and specific forms that each time, they gain new foundational composition and colours. Combinations of Jali, one of the six types of calligraphic scripts and tinny cursive script from Thuluth (Sols) Calligraphic script’s alphabets, twisted and locked to each other, pleasant curved Nastaliq that are embedded in each other’s ventricle, and brown, black, beige colours and the background colour of old papers; and this is a pleasant game, in which, each new form becomes amusing and each explosion and re-alignment, gives a new significance to the contemporary painting. Reza Mafi, without any doubt, was one the major artists in this era.”

Exhibition history

CAMA Gallery | Reza Mafi | Exhibition | CAMA Gallery Opening Ceremony

London Gallery

CAMA Gallery Opening Ceremony

group exhibition, 28 November - 01 January

Reza Mafi

Untitled - 1971

Wood collage 31 x 21 cm Frame depth 77 x 66 x 8 cm Signed on bottom CoA no. 1711181152472

OAR No. 102013 This artwork is unique



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