The ghost in the mirror drags my flesh outside, and so all the invisibility from my body can occupy the other bodies I see. Man is a mirror for Man.
Merleau-Ponty in 'Eye and Mind' (1964)
Genuine and without compromise, Panthea Rahmani has been asserting herself through her own representation in monumental paintings which express the absolute search for a revealed identity. Her series of self-portraits gathered under the title Exposed (2008) uncover an introspective stance, which seems to defy the cultural, religious or social problems enhanced by part of the Middle East art scene. Neither mosque nor chador for the Iranian artist who illustrates a much more personal will for expression.
Panthea Rahmani works for extensive lengths of time from photographs of herself to produce a painting, almost in a performative manner, in which she completely surrenders herself. Every detail of her body, every muscle, every vein, is represented here in a chromatic pallet going from black to white. The artist meticulously proceeds with a brush, in tiny touches of ink and gesso, drawing an intense expressivity that reveals the very essence of her personality.
Her self-portrait with mirror is an unsettling symbol of this expressivity. It introduces an indecipherable ambiguity, leading to question the gaze of the artist on the public looking at her. Who is looking at who? The artist seems to challenge the unknown onlooker, dragging them into an inner journey to discover their own image within the otherness.
Translated by Valérie Vivancos