Leila Heller Gallery art exhibition Darvish Fakhr
Leila Heller Gallery is proud to present the first New York solo exhibition by London based artist Darvish Fakhr. The show, titled “Every Story is Us”, will be on view at 17 East 76th Street, New York City, from October 17th to November 30th. The exhibition will feature new paintings and will be accompanied by several performances in the gallery and around the city.

Darvish Fakhr is a half-Iranian, half-American artist whose work ranges from meticulous oil painting to expressive movement art. In his practice, he amalgamates disparate cultures by overlaying various concepts and aesthetics through interference, which can take the form of movement, paint, or text. Darvish’s work straddles the line between beauty and destruction. Known for his classical style and meticulous technique, his precise paintings are then desecrated by his alterego, The Urban Sufi.

“Every Story is Us” explores the feeling of freedom found within the present moment. In a world marked by ceaseless transformation, the tales we cherish today evolve when we recall them tomorrow. Within this ever-shifting narrative landscape, layers of significance coalesce and fracture, unveiling a palimpsest of fluid messages. Fakhr’s works take shape through the convergence of Western-style painting techniques, steeped in control and mastery, and the translated verses of Eastern mysticism, drawn from Sufi wisdom. This fusion of cultures forms the cornerstone of both his creative process and his way of life. The work invites the viewer to reflect on these intersections.

Oil on board
18 x 24 cm

Darvish’s tongue-in-cheek humor grinds against robust otherworldliness and political critique in his ritualistic live performances. The artist pushes his work into a spiritual direction by writing Eastern inspired poetry over finished oil paintings. This uncomfortable act of artistic expression aims to merge notions of the spiritual and the physical as well as the divine and the mortal. On the subject, he writes:

“There is a moment, very briefly, at the top of any jump where everything becomes still and weightless. Through paint and movement I try to express the particular quality of that moment.”

In what he calls “gentle civic disruptions,” Darvish challenges our preconceived notions of culture and tolerance in performance work that strikes viewers with its surrealism, humor, and optimism. The guerrilla nature of such work is meant to disrupt the familiar rhythms of daily existence by proposing alternative approaches to tempo, physicality, and conduct. Employing spontaneous intervention as a creative medium, Darvish aims to echo the profound essence of the present moment. Through the dual channels of oil painting and movement, he cultivates ongoing transformations within his creations, willingly surrendering to the chaos of the unknown.

HA 3, 2023
Oil on linen
20 x 20 cm

Most recently, Darvish exhibited “Traveling Light” at Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai. In this body of work Darvish continues his lifelong exploration of the tension between art as object, and art as action, using damage and destruction to create new forms of meaning. Darvish began using text in his painting in 2013, during his show ‘Farce’ at Aun Gallery in Tehran. Farce is a play on the work Fars which was the original name of Iran and where the word ‘Farsi’ originates. The images in this series are odd juxtapositions of the daily lives of Iranian living with the constant threat of war and unrest.

Darvish Fakhr currently lives and works in Brighton, UK. He has exhibited and performed internationally, including at The Armory Show in New York. He is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Darvish graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, London with an MFA in 1997 where he studied with Paula Rego.

About Leila Heller Gallery

Since its establishment four decades ago, Leila Heller has gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in promoting creative dialogue and exchange between Western artists and Middle Eastern, Central and Southeast Asian artists. In 2010, Leila Heller moved from the Upper East Side to its flagship space, Leila Heller Gallery, in Chelsea where it has garnered a reputation for identifying and cultivating the careers of artists leaving a lasting impact on contemporary art and culture.

In March of 2019, Leila Heller made her return to the Upper East Side after eight years. The New York space has since brought its focus back to the secondary market, and has hosted events such as Double Vision, curated by Jane Holzer and featuring works by Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, and Keith Haring, amongst others.

In 2015, Leila Heller opened the Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai, its first international location in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue. At 16,500 square feet and 32-foot ceilings, it is a state-of-the-art gallery that features three exhibition spaces, making it the largest gallery in the Middle East. Showcasing leading regional and international artists, many of whom will be presenting their work in the Middle East for the first time, the gallery is dedicated to supporting the evolving practice of established artists. The gallery has strong innovative curatorial and educational programs with an emphasis on promoting a dialogue between Western and Middle Eastern artists. 

In addition to presenting a dynamic exhibition schedule, Leila Heller Gallery actively organizes shows with world-renowned curators, hosts educational panels and film screenings, and produces catalogues and books with scholarly essays. Each year the gallery participates in major international art fairs and stages off-site projects as a platform for exploring new conversations within a wider context of galleries, artists and institutions. Gallery artists have consistently participated in international museum exhibitions and biennials, and are included in leading institutional collections worldwide.

For more information, please visit http://www.leilahellergallery.com.