Lillian Davies

  • Hoda Kashiha, Dream Makes Cloud, 2018, oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas, 47 1⁄4 × 39 3⁄8". From “Oil of Pardis.”

    “The Oil of Pardis”

    Organized by Hormoz Hematian, founder of Tehran’s Dastan Gallery and Dastan’s Basement, “The Oil of Pardis” drew from a rich vein of modern and contemporary painting in Iran. The title revealed a love for the country (pardis is Persian for “paradise”) and referred to both Iran’s petroleum industry and the chosen medium of many of the artists exhibited here. Sam Samiee, however, works in acrylic. The youngest of this multigenerational group of artists, Samiee contributed Mithra the Crucifier, Cyclonopedia, 2018, a work that combines images of carbon-fuels infrastructure with Zoroastrian symbolism.

  • View of “Li Shurui,” 2018. Photo: Claire Dorn.

    Li Shurui

    For this exhibition, Li Shurui’s debut solo presentation in Europe, the artist presented ten new paintings and a video, the roughly twenty-four-minute Marriage Certificate, 2018. Her first work in this medium—made with her husband, the musician Li Daiguo—the video weaves together the physical and emotional material of the couple’s relationship with flashes of their creative production. The eight paintings comprising The moment before evaporation, Me Nos. 15 and The moment before evaporation, You Nos. 13, all 2018, were displayed in level rows across large sheets of paper painted with

  • View of “Younès Rahmoun,” 2018. Photo: Livia Saavedra.

    Younès Rahmoun

    Hijra,” the title of Younès Rahmoun’s most recent exhibition, refers to the departure, in the year 622, of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, the pre-Islamic name of Medina. Hijra—the word means “migration” in Arabic—is an act of faith, an act that looks toward the future. “I think that traveling is a true gift,” the artist said in an interview with curator Jérôme Sans, “whether it is an inner journey or a journey toward the other.” Rahmoun draws strongly on the traditions of Islam in his work, particularly Sufi philosophy. However, it is not only the presence

  • Olympe Racana-Weiler, Citeaux, 2018, oil, acrylic, ink, enamel spray paint, and polyurethane on linen, 70 7/8 x 63".

    Olympe Racana-Weiler

    Olympe Racana-Weiler announces a gut craving, a physical manifestation of desire and ambition, in the title of her first solo exhibition, “I came back from paradise and I’m frankly hungry.” The phrase also alludes to a return from another realm, a passage that might be a kind of metamorphosis, evocative of Ovid’s compendium of transformation myths. In a published conversation with Jim Dine, with whom she works as a studio assistant, Racana-Weiler tells of her own metamorphosis into a painter, and cites the ancient text. In this context, Racana-Weiler also speaks briefly about dancing as a child.

  • Alex Cecchetti, Erotic Cabinet, 2017, sixty-nine mixed-media drawings, oak, glass, 49 1/4 x 59 x 27 1/2".

    Alex Cecchetti

    An ending is a boundary, a limit. But do all stories end? Alex Cecchetti’s exhibition “Tamam Shud,” part of a larger project including a novel and performances, takes its name from the story of a man found dead on a beach in southern Australia seventy years ago. The body was never identified, and his pocket contained only a scrap of paper that read, “Tamám shud,” an Old Persian phrase meaning, “It is the end.” It may have been torn from the last page of the Rubáiyát of the twelfth-century poet Omar Khayyám. That’s the story Cecchetti tells. He also tells the tale that he himself has died.

    The

  • Ida Ekblad, Fantasy on my phone, 2017, plastisol, puff paint, cotton, linen, 62 3/8 x 62 1/8".

    Ida Ekblad

    For years, objects recovered from the streets and sidewalks surrounding the places where Ida Ekblad produces and exhibits her work have found their way into her oeuvre. Here in Paris, her work also opens itself to the perhaps more ephemeral attributes of a certain local form of femininity. In this gallery on the rue du Temple, one found an alluring, exuberant group of six paintings and three sculptures—works sprung from Ekblad’s poem “Step Motherfucker,” the title of which was also the show title. The artist’s rhythmic lines picture a phantasmagoric woman: “She worked in a small art

  • Enrique Ramírez, Brises (Breezes), 2008, 16 mm and 35 mm transferred to digital video, color, sound, 12 minutes.

    OPENINGS: ENRIQUE RAMÍREZ

    THERE ISN’T A CLOUD IN THE SKY at the beginning of Enrique Ramírez’s video Brises (Breezes), 2008, but the gray-suited actor in the opening shot is drenched, water dripping from his fingertips. The young man walks toward Santiago’s Palacio de la Moneda, the official seat of the Chilean president. He passes two fountains before entering the silent monument, his pace unrelenting. Visitors are meant to exit from the palace onto the Plaza de la Ciudadanía, but the actor pointedly heads in the other, “forbidden” direction. The site itself, where Salvador Allende’s life ended during the 1973 military

  • Hassan Sharif, Dictionary, 2015, dictionary pages, glue, cotton ropes, 12' 7 1/2“ x 5' 7” x 2' 1 1/2".

    Hassan Sharif

    Displayed at the top of the stairs leading down to the gallery’s main exhibition space for Hassan Sharif’s “Reading Is Making: Books and Boxes” were copies of three political cartoons that the artist drew in the 1970s. The images speak of the tide of consumerism that began sweeping Sharif’s native United Arab Emirates in the ’60s. In one, a hand reaches up from under a pile of electronic appliances. I'M DROWNING, DROWNING, DROWNING!!! his speech bubble calls out in Arabic. In another, a mustachioed man is pictured on the toilet, surrounded by a discarded mess of books, wearing a Rube Goldberg–type

  • Tiziana La Melia, Je ne sais quoi, 2016–17, oil and aluminum powder on canvas, ink on wooden artist frame, 24 3/8 × 20 7/8".

    Tiziana La Melia

    Spanning adjacent walls and gently grazing the gallery floor, Tiziana La Melia’s panoramic canvas Broom Emotion, 2017, hung unstretched, like a backdrop to the rest of her eponymous solo exhibition, her first in France. Black arabesques and graffiti-like script emerged from this abstract work, saturated with pools of purple, yellow, pink, and brown—that is, watercolor, red wine, and instant coffee. A thin layer of sand covered the gallery’s terrazzo floor, while ostrich-size chalk eggs and purple sachets of white dragées were arranged atop fragrant bales of hay. A garden arch, covered with

  • Mohssin Harraki, Rahatu’L-Aql/Peace of Mind, 2017, lightbulbs, stones, cables, silk screen on glass, concrete, paint. Installation view.

    Mohssin Harraki

    In his exhibition “Matière grise” (Gray Matter), Mohssin Harraki’s Débat imaginaire (Imaginary Debate), 2017, covered an entire wall with an enlarged fourteenth-century illustration of the twelfth-century Andalusian thinker Averroes in conversation with Porphyry, the third-century Neoplatonic philosopher. Manfredus de Monte Imperiali, working in what is today Italy, originally fixed this imaginary dialogue between the two Mediterranean intellects on parchment, seating the wide-eyed men, clothed in colored robes, in stiffly foreshortened chairs. The phrases in ornate Latin calligraphy that extend

  • View of “Caroline Mesquita,” 2017. Photo: Rebecca Fanuele.

    Caroline Mesquita

    “I really like when things suddenly go out of control,” French artist Caroline Mesquita has said. Here, she set the scene as a plane crash. Three installations constructed from steel and resin—The Plane Wing, The Plane Sidewall, and The Wing Tip (all works 2017)—stood as parts of an imagined aircraft. Like a stage, each installation was peopled with sculptures made of plates of brass and resin; cut, bent, and welded together, these life-size anthropomorphic figures are composed of tubular and cylindrical shapes. These are the survivors. Although static, their jointed appendages are

  • View of “Lili Reynaud-Dewar,” 2016–17. Photo: Julie Joubert.

    Lili Reynaud-Dewar

    In 1985, finding that feminism and Marxism had “run aground,” scientist and philosopher Donna Haraway published “A Cyborg Manifesto,” proposing “a creature in a post-gender world.” Arguing for “pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction,” Haraway asserts that “we are all . . . fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.” When French artist, writer, and teacher Lili Reynaud-Dewar arrived in Memphis in 2009 to find billboards advertising “grillz,” she interpreted this practice of adornment as a manifestation of Haraway’s vision