Athier Mousawi: All Things Come Apart

 Athier Mousawi. All Things Come Apart 10, 2017, acrylic on raw linen, 172 x 210 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Ayyam Gallery.

Athier Mousawi. All Things Come Apart 10, 2017, acrylic on raw linen, 172 x 210 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Ayyam Gallery.

For the past six years at least, Athier Mousawi has immersed himself in chaos. His compositions were jam-packed full of different shapes, forms, dimensions and a hugely varied colour palette.

Yet, his latest collection, All Things Come Apart, whilst still characterised by bright colour and interesting fragments of shape, are much more pared down so that the individual elements can be identified and appreciated.

“One of the reasons I am drawn to chaos is that when you create something chaotic, you go past the point where it is comfortable and you have to make sense of it,” he says. “But for the last year so many things have felt chaotic outside of my work that I haven’t been able to handle intensity and have been drawn to peaceful and harmonious compositions.”

Whilst a viewer may not immediately think of the word peaceful when first seeing this latest collection, they are certainly much more distilled than Athier’s previous works and it is definitely easier to notice the process behind putting them together.

 Athier Mousawi. All Things Come Apart 15, 2017, acrylic on raw linen, 83 x 163 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Ayyam Gallery.

Athier Mousawi. All Things Come Apart 15, 2017, acrylic on raw linen, 83 x 163 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Ayyam Gallery.

Athier describes the content of his work as “a collection of things that you just pick up – a visual diary composed in a canvas” but the dots, fragments of patterns, squiggles and floating three dimensional shapes and bubbles do not feel random or spontaneous. His technique of balancing a composition shines through in that respect.

There is also something theatrical about the canvases. They are scenes that he has directed and underlined by influenced of surrealism he has mastered the use of light and shade to create a believability to the fantastical and impossible arrangement of forms, floating in a dreamlike space.

The title of the show also points to his interest in the “explosive moment” as well as the theatrical elements informing his practice. Citing artists such as Alberto Savinio and Jonas Burgert as influences, as well as the “ghosts of Modernism” that live around him in Paris, Athier’s work is certainly considered and this particular series more so than any before.

Whereas previously, Athier has used his work to address social and political issues and even attempt to deconstruct psychology, this is a much more personal journey reflecting his development as an artist.

Learn more about Athier's practice and process during his artist talk on January 27, 2018. The talk will take place at 3pm at A4, Alserkal Avenue and will be moderated by me, Anna Seaman.