'Bagh-e man'

Cecilia Hillström Gallery
Stockholm, 2024

Influenced by the Persian masters of poetry, Reyhani’s starting point for the new exhibition was the poem The Leafless Garden by Mehdi Akhavan Sales (1928–1990). The poem tells a story of mourning and can be read as a description of an inner personal state of mind, as well as a collective one – alluding to the social-political situation at the time. In this sense, the exhibition tells the story of both personal and collective grief.

In the exhibition Bagh-e man, you enter a precious garden telling a story of loss. The tree, once a symbol of life, is here presented as barren and leafless tree trunks, balancing their weight. They point to autumn and the slow transformation which has taken form. Something has gone, and something new has taken its place. Wall works surround the installation, creating a barrier to the garden. Wooden door panels with paintings of flowers resonate with historical miniature paintings, the background colour a bluish grey called kaboud in Persian.

Between the trees, two bright red wooden sculptures unfold their delicate petals. One of the marble sculptures, carefully displayed on a wooden podium, bears traces of scars and wounds on the surface. The duality of the bodily and the emotional is a recurring theme for the artist, represented by the tangible and the immaterial in her work.

The subtle sound piece in the show gives the garden life and movement; the breeze through the trees, the bird song and the motif of a lullaby enclose the works and echo what has been, telling a story of immense and incomprehensible shared loss and the beauty and pain through life.

Text by Katrin Källeskog