Press release: New works by NARGIS RAKHMANOVA-DRESSLER “Sounds of Nomads, Decoding Messages of Beauty” from the series “The Path of Arabesque” in the Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Exhibition is on view: October 9 – 15, 2015
Opening Reception: 9 October 2015, 6 pm

“Mathematics is the language with which God has written the Universe”
Galileo Galilei

In one of her solo shows in the New York-based Zalman Gallery in 2000, Nargis Rakhmanova showed a new series of figurative and abstract paintings called “Crossroads”, in which she unified two classical genres of painting: abstract and figurative. This show presaged the two most important concepts of her future work–energy and matter.

“Crossroads” was soon followed by another figurative series called “Laboratory, Looking for Soul”, which was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical drawings of the human body. The spirit of Leonardo’s quest to find the essence of life hasn’t left Nargis since. Recognizing visual arts to be one of the many ways of researching the world around us, Nargis is breaking the boundaries of the classical school of art, masterfully executing techniques in multiple mediums that are unified by one greater purpose – presenting an idea in her search for truth.

This exhibition shows new works produced in mixed mediums of drawings with embroidery and painting on canvas as well as photography and video installation, called «Sounds of Nomads, Decoding Messages of Beauty» from the series “The Path of Arabesque”. This series of works finds its inspiration in the ornamental structures of Arabesque and explores geometrical structures with easily recognizable Pythagorean-Platonic doctrines.

Fascinated by the beauty of the ornaments at first, Nargis has reflected on Plato’s philosophical approach and his call for “Decoding Messages of Beauty”. She came across research by contemporary mathematicians seeking an explanation for enigmatic structures. If one looks at Arabesque with the eyes of a mathematician, one will see 17 types of symmetries, operating in 3-dimensional space. These are perfect geometric structures, dynamic and flexible enough to expand endlessly in both directions to infinity. The structures are not limited, but directly connected to Platonic solids, one of which, tetrahedron, was considered by the Greeks to represent the very essence of matter.

Breaking down the ornaments and creating sequential drawings, Nargis illustrates how the art of Arabesque is inseparable from the science of mathematics.
The geometrical structures of Arabesque are based on timeless mathematics, one of the highly regarded disciplines in both Ancient Greece and the VIII century Middle East. Taking important cultural and philosophical notions from the two different cultures, Nargis questions the source of geometric figures behind the ornamentation through the evocation of Plato’s principles of geometry. Plato believed that geometry covered an eternal world of ideas and was a reflection of things that we glimpsed here on Earth. In his opinion, “geometrical figures are the ideal memories of the geometrical properties of ideal structures, which existed in some timeless realm that we can barely apprehend”.
Taking his view as the basis for her work, Nargis suggests that the primary function of these patterns is to lead the mind from the literal and mundane world towards the underlying permanent reality.
“I seek to address and to reveal the true complexity and significance of Arabesques geometry as well as its broad contemporary artistic and scientific relevance”, said the artist.
Being born to a family of an internationally acclaimed musicologist and one of the leading sculptors in the country, Nargis is staying true to her origins and questions not only the ornamental structures, but the source of geometry itself. Her video installation – “I am the Voice” generates a debate about the sources of geometry and brings a viewer to see simple geometrical structures created by a sound wave of the human voice, evoking Pythagoras “There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.”
Nargis Rakhmanova doesn’t perceive visual art in isolation, but sees connections between philosophical schools, history, mathematics and music. Each are inseparable parts of one whole, which shine light on one another and enable us to understand our reality, through understanding them. Through her work, Nargis expands on her constant personal search for a source of reality and for realisation of its full potential.
The artist wishes to dedicate this exhibition to the memory of her nephew Elnur Rakhmanov.
Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments
Zenkov st. 24a, Almaty, Kazakhstan

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