1 of 10
<  •   +   •  >

1g197587.jpg


Bijan Dowlatshahi, Untitled, 1970
worked muslin, 46 x 36 inches (116.8 x 91.4 cm)
Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.87


Dowlatshahi's biography is pivotal to understanding this work, which was inspired by his childhood memories. He recounts a story of himself as a young boy trying to deconstruct a piece of muslin that his mother was weaving.
1 Untitled recreates these efforts. Dowlatshahi first washed the muslin in dye, and then ironed it. The last step, pulling at the warps (threads extended lengthwise in the loom) one at a time so that only the wefts (threads perpendicular to the warp) remain intact, repeats his childhood antics. He describes the fabric as a metaphor for his life: "I see my life as thread being constantly pulled out of the spool of my life; therefore it always comes back to my mind as thin, delicate, gray, and into my artworks.2 The familiarity of muslin allows individual viewers to formulate their own thoughts about the work informed by their own knowledge and backgrounds.

1. Email message from Bijan Dowlatshai to Caitlin McKenna, July 8, 2010.
2. Email message from Bijan Dowlatshahi to David Colosi, Preparator, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, November 8, 2008.