Praz-Delavallade Projects Los Angeles is pleased to announce the opening of On the Other Side of the Wall, with Franco-Iranian artist Golnaz Payani. This marks Payani’s first exhibition in Los Angeles.

Through a series of works that are the result of a meticulous weaving process, she skillfully reinvents a historical narrative embedded within her found antique frames. For Payani, arranging these portraits is akin to a ritual. It transforms the blank canvas of walls into relics, preserving elusive traces of our beloved figures – encapsulating the very essence and memories held within their faces.

Rooted in her childhood experiences during the Iran-Iraq war in Tehran, Payani explores themes of disappearance and trace, which profoundly influenced by the persistent phenomenon of missing individuals in post-war Iran. Her narrative intertwines with her adolescent years, marked by the weight of enforced veiling, which transformed her perception of fabric; from playful objects into symbols of oppression.

However, her artistic journey took a transformative turn upon her relocation to France in 2009. This shift sparked a profound exploration into the unseen, reigniting her connection with fabric. Within her practice, Payani aims to liberate the trace from its source, allowing it to forge its own unique identity.

Golnaz Payani was born in Tehran in 1986 during the Iran-Iraq war. Her work revolves around themes of disappearance, trace, and perception. Payani recalls years after the war ended, the media regularly broadcasted lists of missing people and those found after years of captivity.

Disappearances never ceased in Iran, taking on various forms, including imposed silence, which compelled children to keep their lives at home hidden from the outside. She recalls celebrating joy in secret: birthdays, weddings, gatherings with friends. Everything had to be done away from prying eyes. Her childhood was a constant conflict between ostensible appearance and invisible privacy.

At the age of 15, Payani was obliged to wear the veil, altering her relationship with fabric. What used to be wonderful, tangible, and multicolored pieces of fabric obtained from her grandmother, turned into objects of oppression and burden. From marvelous and palpable toys, they transformed into a uniform that annihilated every aspect of her personality. This shaped her interest in the hidden, the invisible, and the vanished.

She is constantly questioning what memory holds, and the credibility of the trace in representing its source. Once reality is displaced, erased, or covered by the juxtaposition of other possible realities, what images remain faithful to their representation? If our interpretation of reality is only a projection, truncated, distorted, or corrected from the perception of the original event, it must also change over time, at will. Payani does not praise nor criticize memory. Her work allows the trace to emancipate itself from its source and become a completed form with its own identity.

Payani’s work captures moments to reveal various temporal realities. She extracts the object from time, analyzes and dissects it in its precise state at a given moment, like a surgical slice. She closely examines this reality and ponders the connections that persist between the object, its trace, and its trajectory.