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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 by 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 by Rob McKeever

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

Y. Z. Kami, Daya in Profile, 2014

Oil on linen, 118 × 80 inches (299.7 × 203.2 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

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

Y. Z. Kami, Paul, 2014

Oil on linen, 90 × 54 inches (228.6 × 137.2 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

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

Y. Z. Kami, Black Dome II, 2014

Acrylic on linen, 72 × 79 inches (182.9 × 200.7 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

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

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

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

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

Y. Z. Kami, Marwin, 2013–14

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

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

Y. Z. Kami, White Dome I, 2011–13

Acrylic on linen, 124 × 137 inches (315 × 348 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

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

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled, 2009–12

Oil on linen, 112 × 75 inches (284.5 × 190.5 cm)

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

Y. Z. Kami, White Dome IV, 2010

Acrylic on linen, 70 × 77 inches (177.8 × 195.6 cm)

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

Y. Z. Kami, Untitled, 2010

Oil on linen, 99 × 68 inches (251.5 × 172.7 cm)

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

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

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)

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

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

Oil on linen, 132 × 74 inches (335.3 × 188 cm)
Photo by 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

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

Museum Exhibitions

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

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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

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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