Image: Endless Prayers IX, 2015, Mixed Media on Paper, 62 1/2 x 49 inches, (158.8 x 124.5 cm), © Y.Z. Kami. Courtesy Gagosian. Photography by Robert McKeever
The exhibition presents some of this New York-based, Iranian-born artist’s most recent works, which reflect the theme of endless prayers. Prayer, an act both physical and transcendent, is grounded in the world of time and space but sustained by the perception of something that exists beyond embodied reality. It evokes a state more easily felt than seen. And yet, in Y.Z. Kami’s remarkable paintings and collages, the artist has masterfully rendered the intangible and profoundly personal notion of prayer in strong visual terms through binaries of words and images, East and West, corporeal and spiritual.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art recently acquired a relatively well-preserved eighteenth-century Damascene reception room. In 1978, it had been dismantled intact from a soon-to-be demolished courtyard home in the al-Bahsa quarter of Damascus and exported to Beirut, Lebanon, and eventually London. More than thirty years later, the room arrived in Los Angeles packed in twenty-four crates. There were no photographs of the room in situ. Its painted wood panels, which comprise the heart of the room, were dirty, water-damaged, and showed signs of warping, and paint loss and fading. After eighteen months of intensive work, the restoration process is nearly complete; it revealed brilliant pinks, oranges, blues, and greens, allowing a rare glimpse of the original color palette, which helps bring to life this ornate interior.
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