This exhibition, Kamrooz Aram’s third solo at Green Art Gallery, is the largest step away from previous bodies of work, which focused more on meticulous curation, grid-locked execution, and fresh takes on ornamentation versus the decorative. Arabesque may abandon the grid, but what is ingrained is hard to shake: the grid remains, peeking at you from behind layers of paint (Ibn Sina, 2019).
If arabesque—'Arab-like’, Aram explains—is a vague visual construct, he plays with this mode of visual assumption in how he patterns from memory and instinct. His works are like ornamental canons, not mimetic—an amalgamation of the learned and the innate. “Arabesque is part of an exoticist lexicon that now belongs to the exoticised,” he declares in his artist statement. “It occurs to me that I am Arabesque.” But as an artist who grasps both Western and Eastern angles, “It occurs to me that there is no such thing as Arabesque.” And when propositioned with whether it is more natural to embrace a nurtured visual language and means of producing works, or this new liberation from the grid with intuitive arabesque-like forms—the answer is equally, and understandably, unclear.