Menu

Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, Masque mortuaire de Pascal (Pascal’s death masque), 2017 Oil on linen, 75 × 51 inches (190.5 × 129.5 cm)© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Masque mortuaire de Pascal (Pascal’s death masque), 2017

Oil on linen, 75 × 51 inches (190.5 × 129.5 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Daya in Profile, 2014 Oil on linen, 118 × 80 inches (299.7 × 203.2 cm)© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Daya in Profile, 2014

Oil on linen, 118 × 80 inches (299.7 × 203.2 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Paul, 2014 Oil on linen, 90 × 54 inches (228.6 × 137.2 cm)© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Paul, 2014

Oil on linen, 90 × 54 inches (228.6 × 137.2 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Black Dome II, 2014 Acrylic on linen, 72 × 79 inches (182.9 × 200.7 cm)© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Black Dome II, 2014

Acrylic on linen, 72 × 79 inches (182.9 × 200.7 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Man with Violet Eyes, 2013–14 Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Man with Violet Eyes, 2013–14

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Marwin, 2013–14 Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Marwin, 2013–14

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, White Dome I, 2011–13 Acrylic on linen, 124 × 137 inches (315 × 348 cm)© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, White Dome I, 2011–13

Acrylic on linen, 124 × 137 inches (315 × 348 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled, 2009–12 Oil on linen, 112 × 75 inches (284.5 × 190.5 cm)© Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled, 2009–12

Oil on linen, 112 × 75 inches (284.5 × 190.5 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, White Dome IV, 2010 Acrylic on linen, 70 × 77 inches (177.8 × 195.6 cm)© Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, White Dome IV, 2010

Acrylic on linen, 70 × 77 inches (177.8 × 195.6 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled, 2010 Oil on linen, 99 × 68 inches (251.5 × 172.7 cm)© Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled, 2010

Oil on linen, 99 × 68 inches (251.5 × 172.7 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled (Hands) I, 2013 Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)© Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled (Hands) I, 2013

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled (Woman in a Green Sweater), 2006 Oil on linen, 132 × 74 inches (335.3 × 188 cm)© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled (Woman in a Green Sweater), 2006

Oil on linen, 132 × 74 inches (335.3 × 188 cm)
© Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

About

Y.Z. Kami’s large-scale portraits recreate the visceral experience of a face-to-face encounter, suggesting a connection to the presence of each subject. Through a uniform haze or sfumato, he depicts family, friends, and anonymous strangers with eyes open or closed, gazing forward or looking down. Rendered in matte oil paint on linen, the portraits recall Byzantine frescoes or Fayum funerary portraits, continuing the art historical quest to locate the unknown and the infinite within material form. In his abstract work, Kami continues this interplay of surface and interior, using forms inspired by architecture, geometry, and poetry. In the Endless Prayers series, Persian, Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit prayers and verses are cut into rectangular fragments and pasted into mandala formations, their spiraling patterns echoing the repetitive nature of prayer. These, in turn, led to the Dome paintings. In black, white, blue, or gold, the Domes are comprised of square or rectangular marks arranged in concentric circles to create tessellated, pulsing voids—universal evocations of the passage from darkness into light. Kami has also expanded his figurative painting to include depictions of hands. The hands, often shown with palms pressed together in prayer, underscore the physical nuance of this expressive part of the body, as well as the pervasive symbolism of its gestures.

Y.Z. Kami was born in Tehran, Iran in 1956. His work has been collected and exhibited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the British Museum, London; and Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London. Solo institutional exhibitions include “Portraits by Y.Z. Kami,” Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2003); the 52nd Biennale di Venezia (2007); “Perspectives: Y.Z. Kami,” Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (2008); “Y.Z. Kami: Endless Prayers,” Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London (2008); “Y.Z. Kami: Beyond Silence,” National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (2009–10); and “Y.Z. Kami: Endless Prayers,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), CA (2016-17).

Kami currently lives and works in New York.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Y.Z. Kami: Works 1985–2018 (Milan: Skira; New York: Gagosian, 2019)

Book Signing

Y.Z. Kami
Works 1985–2018

Thursday, May 9, 2019, 12–3pm
Bar Foscarini, Venice

To celebrate the release of his new monograph and his participation in The Spark Is You: Parasol unit in Venice, Y.Z. Kami will sign copies of the book, titled Y.Z. Kami: Works 1985–2018. Copublished by Skira and Gagosian, this comprehensive monograph collects over three hundred of Kami’s works in color along with essays by curator, critic, and writer Robert Storr, Guardian art critic Laura Cumming, and curator of the Pinault Collection at Palazzo Grassi Elena Geuna. To attend the free event, RSVP to kamivenice@gagosian.com. Space is limited.

Y.Z. Kami: Works 1985–2018 (Milan: Skira; New York: Gagosian, 2019)

Thomas Houseago, Untitled (Colored Skull I), 2018 © Thomas Houseago

Art Fair

West Bund Art & Design

November 8–11, 2018, booth A120
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
westbundshanghai.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design for the first time, with a booth of modern and contemporary works by artists including Glenn Brown,  Dan Colen, John Currin, Jean Dubuffet, Rachel Feinstein, Urs Fischer, Walton Ford, Ellen Gallagher, Douglas Gordon, Jennifer Guidi, Hao Liang, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Y.Z. Kami, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Nam June Paik, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Rudolf Stingel, and Jonas Wood.

Additionally, a large-scale painting by Takashi Murakami, Dragon in Clouds – Indigo Blue (2010), will be installed in a special presentation at the entrance to Hall N. To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To preview our booth, go to artsy.net.

Download the full press release in EnglishSimplified Chinese, or Traditional Chinese

Thomas Houseago, Untitled (Colored Skull I), 2018 © Thomas Houseago

Sterling Ruby, WIDW. FLAME WAR., 2018 © Sterling Ruby. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

Online Viewing Room

Frieze London 2018

October 1–10, 2018
gagosianviewingroom.com

Coinciding with the gallery’s presentations at Frieze London and Frieze Masters, the Online Viewing Room will feature works that will be available exclusively online by artists including Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Sterling Ruby, and Jonas Wood.

The Frieze London Online Viewing Room will open at 12:00am on October 1 in Hong Kong, and close at 11:59pm on October 10 in Los Angeles and San Francisco (see below for dates and times in cities where Gagosian has gallery locations).

Online Viewing Room opens: 
12:00am HKT on October 1 (Hong Kong)
7:00pm EEST on September 30 (Athens)
6:00pm CEST on September 30 (Geneva, Paris, Rome)
5:00pm BST on September 30 (London)
12:00pm EDT on September 30 (New York)
9:00am PDT on September 30 (Los Angeles, San Francisco)

Online Viewing Room closes: 
2:59pm HKT on October 11 (Hong Kong)
9:59am EEST on October 11 (Athens)
8:59am CEST on October 11 (Geneva, Paris, Rome)
7:59am BST on October 11 (London)
2:59am EDT on October 11 (New York)
11:59pm PDT on October 10 (Los Angeles, San Francisco)

For more information about the Frieze London 2018 Online Viewing Room or the works that will be included, please contact inquire@gagosian.com.

Sterling Ruby, WIDW. FLAME WAR., 2018 © Sterling Ruby. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

See all News for Y.Z. Kami

Museum Exhibitions

Y.Z. Kami, Chartres III, 2018 © Y.Z. Kami

On View

Y.Z. Kami in
The Spark Is You: Parasol unit in Venice

Through November 23, 2019
Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello, Venice
parasol-unit.org

In celebration of its fifteenth anniversary, London’s Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents an exhibition of works by nine contemporary Iranian artists in Venice. The Spark Is You has at its heart the need to develop mutual respect and understanding between different nations and cultures. The exhibiting artists, all of whom look beyond the ordinary, were selected for the affinity with openness, respect, and human interconnectedness presented in their practice. Work by Y.Z. Kami is included.

Y.Z. Kami, Chartres III, 2018 © Y.Z. Kami

Y.Z. Kami, Black Dome, 2015 © Y.Z. Kami

Closed

Y.Z. Kami in
Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians

July 1–September 24, 2017
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
www.mfah.org

Contemporary Iranian artists have used power, humor, mysticism, and poetry to both openly and subversively critique subjects such as gender, politics, war, religion, and spirituality. While some of the works in Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians reflect the sociopolitical tensions of the past twenty-five years, others transcend them to create all-embracing spaces free of strife. This show is traveling from the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Work by Y.Z. Kami is included.

Y.Z. Kami, Black Dome, 2015 © Y.Z. Kami

Photo: Janet Kimber

Closed

Y.Z. Kami in
Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians

February 4–June 4, 2017
Aga Khan Museum, Toronto
www.agakhanmuseum.org

Contemporary Iranian artists have used power, humor, mysticism, and poetry to both openly and subversively critique subjects such as gender, politics, war, religion, and spirituality. While some of the works in Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians reflect the sociopolitical tensions of the past twenty-five years, others transcend them to create all-embracing spaces free of strife. Work by Y.Z. Kami is included.

Photo: Janet Kimber