Last March, an impressive group show titled Hope Dreams Desire was organized by OPEN WALLS Gallery in collaboration with #YPA (Young Persian Artists). Those who had the opportunity to see the memorable works by four emerging stars of Iranian contemporary art scene were certainly excited to see OPEN WALLS and #YPA get back together – this time to host the first solo show by incredible painter Romisa Sakaki in Berlin. Drawing the title from the most recent series of Romisa’s paintings, the exhibition Selfies in the City opened on April 2nd, under the curatorial guidance of #YPA founder Mahsa Mergenthaler-Shamsaei, bringing the best of the artist’s work from her short but fruitful and ascending career.
Everyday Life in the City of Tehran
At the first glimpse at Romisa’s paintings, what immediately captures the attention of the viewer is the energetic and vigorous way in which she depicts her subjects and urban sceneries. Vivid fluorescent colors, intense color contrasts, single-layered painting style, and exaggerating outlining of the subjects are among the most recognizable features of Sakaki’s work and they are not chosen randomly. Throughout her many series of paintings, Romisa Sakaki often captures the moments of leisure, a carefree atmosphere of life in the city, those seemingly ordinary experiences our lives are comprised of, which makes them relatable on many levels. Although her works reflect on universal themes like the nature of human relations, they are not exempted of the particular context in which they’re made. As Mahsa Mergenthaler-Shamsaei, the curator of the exhibition, mentioned in an interview prior to the show: Her work is very much influenced by her surroundings and her surroundings are deeply subject to political and economic turmoil and change. The social aspect is so subtly interwoven into the atmosphere, and it contributes to the richness of the paintings, rather than depriving them of the artist’s desire to communicate on a broader level.
Highlights of Romisa Sakaki’s Past Painting Series and New Works
Over the course of Selfies in the City exhibition, the audience will be able to enjoy the representative selection of works from Romisa Sakaki’s different series. On view are her intimate small family portraits from 2011 as well as large works from the series An Instruction for a Day Off painted in 2012 documenting upheaval. More recent Grasslands paintings will also be featured, illustrating the artist’s shift from domestic themes to concerns of urban public life. However, the highlight of the exhibition is certainly the series of small painted “selfies” that bring forth the artist’s ongoing interest in the representation of social bonds, cheerful spirit of youth society and social life of the millennials whilst maintaining her focus on the current affairs that affect them.
Selfies in the City on View at OPEN WALLS Gallery
As mentioned before, Selfies in the City is the first solo exhibition overseas for the incredibly talented Romisa Sakaki. The exhibition which opened on April 2nd will be on view through April 23rd, with plenty of time left to stop by the OPEN WALLS Gallery and behold the best of the artist’s works, while also witnessing the thematic and visual shift in contemporary Iranian art.