October 9, 2021 – February 20, 2022
For over twenty-five years Toba Khedoori, born in Sydney in 1964 and now living in Los Angeles, has been developing a body of work that can be described as one of the most outstanding and singular contributions to contemporary art. Her works—made through a lengthy, highly concentrated production process—tread a fine line between painting and drawing, while also possessing a distinctly haptic quality. As a rule, the starting point for her art are sheets of paper treated with wax that she combines to form monumental image carriers that envelop the viewer’s field of vision. Upon these, Khedoori then creates immensely detailed drawings in graphite and oil paints, which are extraordinarily precise in their execution. Her motifs range from buildings, windows, cinema seats, and fireplaces to branches, grasses, clouds, horizon lines, and more. Human beings are only ever present in the traces they leave; they are never the prime focus of a composition. In many of Khedoori’s works the motifs are detached from their original context and occupy an expansive, empty pictorial space. Time and place do not appear to apply in these realms. This in turn creates a situation where certain works develop moments of abstraction, which open up yet another dimension in Khedoori’s art.
Since 2008 Khedoori has also made paintings on canvas that are considerably smaller than the aforesaid works on paper. These smaller pieces continue to engage with themes arising from the tension between human beings and the natural world, albeit with a greater emphasis on the interplay between representationalism and abstraction. Many of these compositions avoid easy legibility, bringing to the fore the interaction of lines, structures, and colors. Despite their level of abstraction, these paintings exude an unusual intensity—quiet yet remarkable—which in fact characterizes all of Khedoori’s art. This innate strength raises questions about life’s fundamental parameters and establishes the philosophical underpinnings of her work.
The Fridericianum will present Khedoori’s first solo exhibition in a German art institution. Through a selection of works created between 1994 and 2021, this survey show illustrates the diversity and development of Khedoori’s graphic and painterly oeuvre.