Golnesa Rezanezhad

Weaving the past into the present

Eva Steynen Gallery is proud to present 'Weaving the past into the present' the first solo exhibition in the gallery by the Iranian artist and researcher Golnesa Rezanezhad. The exhibition evolves from an ongoing research-based artistic practice that Rezanezhad started in 2016. It explores how female rug and carpet weavers in Iran reflect on their womanhood and their agency to express through their design and the act of traditional hand weaving.

On view are different installations integrating rug tapestries and works on paper. Centrally we see a triptych of human-sized looms. In this installation the works are shaped in response to each-other. By the combination of a figurative work, made by one of the local Iranian weavers, and an abstract work, designed by Rezanezhad and reflecting her interpretation of the female weavers' works. These abstract patterns are based on the figurative motifs
used in northern Iran. Rezanezhad's rugs don't analyze the work of these weavers, but her goal is to provide more visibility to their rugs’ visual communication. Therefore she added an empty loom, to convey an ongoing space for improvisation and cultural transformation.

She considers her art practice to be a collaborative process. The exhibition shows different types of collaboration with female rug-weavers in northern Iran. The collaborative design and weaving with artisans is based on reflecting their own everyday life stories by transforming traditional motifs. Rezanezhad's own designs are inspired by the initial
motifs she found woven by local artisans in two villages in northern Iran. In her drawings and installations, figures referring to caring, family, community and nature stand in contrast with symbols of a 'masculine' petroleum-based economy, represented by oil-pipes and industrial related tools.

Rezanezhad, descends from a family of female weavers: “I am a third generation after my grandmother who visioned another future for her daughters and granddaughters, rather than what she lived, produced and created. She was born during the Reza Shah Pahlavi and lived the second Pahlavi time and Islamic Republic time. When she was born, modernization boomed in Iran and many socio-political shifted alongside new visions created among women who were an important target group during the Shah's modernization. I began to think about this project when I started to be more conscious about my feeling of being suspended in the time, the feeling of rapture between the present and the past ”.

Rugs and carpet weaving have been Iran’s main export products. Especially in the pre-oil economy, the craft of hand-weaving was done by women. In the general opinion the embodied practice of weaving is considered to be a form of being that relates to the past. In this present time, however, Rezanez shows us that weaving has been reinvented in
contemporary times as an artistic skill for reflecting artisans’ desired aesthetics and perceptions.

The solo exhibition runs in collaboration with Kunsthal Extra City, the second triptych of rug-tapestries are part of the exhibition 'Carpetland, critical tapestries', on view until 14 April 2024.

BORGER NOCTURNE: Friday 26 January, 6-9pm

Artists: Golnesa Rezanezhad