The Shock of the Now Issue 19
Featured Exhibition Text
'A WAY TO STAY' Solo Exhibition
24th November 2021
Cotton, velvet, linen, silk, wool, nylon and neoprene mesh and merge within Desire Moheb-Zandi‘s temptingly tactile tapestries, displaying a generosity of material that is only equalled by their generosity of colour, texture and form. Acting as self-contained multicoloured cosmoses, each individual textile boasts internal order and balance, that is until the weaves’ warp and weft is intentionally interrupted by bulbous, anomalous protuberances, snaking, sinewy stands or yawning, raggedy cavities. Akin to a maternal bird collecting strands of string or yarn for nesting, Moheb-Zandi accumulates a diverse wealth of fabrics and fibres as she traverses the globe for exhibitions or residencies. ‘A WAY TO STAY’, her debut London solo exhibition, even incorporates additions and elements sourced from the hardware stores of Camden during her time in the capital. Through amassing and assembling these multinational materials Moheb-Zandi keeps a diary written in differing threads, charting and tracking her travels, memories embedded in the medium.
A series of smaller hangings, suspended from yarn-bombed oversized osteal cotton buds and produced during the artist’s time on the Plop x Cob studios residency, are imbued with humour and playful personality. Zany bands of electric blue and neon orange pierce puffy cotton clouds, striped shagpile is rudely interrupted by a frisky coil in puckish pink velvet as loose loops entwine and emerge from a tasselled take on the LDB. Emotions anthropomorphically evident. Curved, concave metal rods support the exhibition’s larger tapestries, the focal of which hangs towards the back of FOLD’s basement space, encircled by found pebbles. This stone circle, as well as the works’ inclusion of crinkled, singed plastic sheeting and a piercing bicephalic barbed blue hydra which dangles menacingly at head height, echoes the sites of shamanistic or talismanic rituals, to which ceremonial textiles have long-standing connotations. Spray paint and oil stick applied directly to the facades’ fibres serve as celestial stains, shooting stars in fluorescent yellows and oranges that scorch and sear the surface. These painterly interventions typify Moheb-Zandi’s defiance of the conventional associations of textiles and circumvent any restrictions inherent to the medium itself, whilst also demonstrating her almost synaesthetic relationship to colour, one driven by dreams, intuition and improvisation.
Throughout her childhood in Turkey, Moheb-Zandi would watch with wonderment as her grandmother weaved, and the artist grew up surrounded by the resultant blankets and cloths. Weaving, therefore, allows Moheb-Zandi to identify with and emulate her own cultural heritage, the loom as heirloom, a benchmark from which to counter and contend with the commonly accepted notions of the textile as a craft-based artform.