16 April 2013
Yahya and Mehdi Qotbi's exhibition presents seventeen UAO's (unidentified artistic objects).
Invisible Light is an encounter between a painter and a sculptor, between two and three dimensions, relief and color, oil and bronze, words and shapes.
The calligrapher-artist Mehdi Qotbi and the sculptor and designer of objets d'art Yahya present seventeen works that encapsulate the dialogue between the two artists in an imaginary language that freely reinterprets the calligraphic tradition in Islamic art. Together the two artists have created a series of intricately interwoven signs and letters that create a new form of abstraction.
The three-dimensional calligraphy is infused by light that is by turns immanent and transcendent, conferring a quasi-magical aura on the sculptures, shown for the first time in Zaha Hadid's unique new exhibition space at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris. The sculptures are immobile, yet somehow shimmer and dance, suggesting a world of light and shade.
The abstract forms consist of Arabic words like "Salam" as well as arbitrary signs suggestive of Arabic script but bearing no explicit message. Yet, they still recount an epic, poetic narrative of the encounter between East and West, where cultures change each other through exchanges, and where artists invent contemporaneity by dreaming of an age-old calligraphic tradition with universal relevance.
The sculptor Yahya Qotbi is a self-taught artist. He was born in London in 1972, to a Christian Anglo-German mother and a Moroccan Jewish father. As an adult, he converted to Islam.
Free of any academic reference, he works in a particularly demanding anchent craft of brassware. His metalworking is enhanced through his passion for a sculpture of light. Cutting, hammering, drilling and chiselling copper become the heart of his syncretic language, true fusion between traditional Islamic and contemporary art.
The caligrapher Mehdi Qotbi discovered a passion for drawing which he first developed first at Fine Arts Rabat, in Morocco, then furthered in Toulouse and then Paris. A few decades later, in 2005, he returned to live in Morocco, where he became a member of the Advisory Council on Human Rights and work tirelessly for the Rapprochement of Cultures.
In 2011, he was appointed by King Mohammed VI at the head of the National Foundation of museums in Morocco while continuing his pictorial work, which has achieved world recognition.
The exhibition runs until 7 July 2013.
"Invisible Light" Culture Kiosque 10 April 2013
"The Institut du monde arabe presents the exhibition 'Invisible Light'" Art Now April 4, 2013
"L'Institut du monde arabe prÃ©sente Â« LumiÃ¨re Invisible Â» Mehdi Qotbi et Yahya" Le parisien April 6, 2013
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today