Ghada Amer. Picture: Brian Buckley
Ghada Amer. Picture: Brian Buckley

Love is a Difficult Blue is an exhibition of new collaborative works by Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh in which the artists look to women and nature for inspiration – a key focus since they first collaborated in the early 2000s.

The exhibition title is inspired by Alain Souchon’s ‘L’amour à la machine’ [Putting love in the washing machine] – a song about putting love through the challenge of a washing machine to see if the original colours of love are still intact, in which Souchon writes and sings, “…Matisse, l’amour c’est bleu difficile”.

For this new body of work, the artists chose to draw on used Pellon (a synthetic fabric that is commonly used in papermaking) and on paper – their signature medium.

 My Blood, My Decision 2017, Oil, watercolor and pencil on paper courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York
My Blood, My Decision, 2017, oil, watercolor and pencil on paper. Courtesy Cheim & Read, NY

‘Broken Landscapes’

In their individual and collective practices, the artists doggedly question the status of women in society and in art history. This is a central concern to Amer’s work and appears subtly in Farkhondeh’s Broken Landscapes series in which repression of women in contemporary times is explored.

When they come together to create work, Amer’s quest for empowering women is combined with Farkhondeh’s vision of the fragility of our lives in relation to nature and society. The result is work that seeks to aesthetically and conceptually engage viewers on notions of beauty, intelligence, and independence of women in a context of perceived repression in technologically advanced societies.

Farkhondeh and Amer welcome the status of combined authorship. Together, they probe boundaries of shape and form, drawing and painting, pencil and brush, collage and sewing. Their work comments on art, literature and social political life, also hinted at in the titles attributed to each work.

Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh, Mutual Consent, 2017 Acrylic, tape, fabric on pellon
Mutual Consent, 2017, acrylic, tape, fabric on pellon

Erotic embroideries

Amer is a painter, but also works in ceramics, photography, drawing, and is best known for her erotic embroideries. Earlier this year, she was one of two artists honoured at the Smithsonian African Art Awards.

Farkhondeh works across numerous mediums, including video, painting, text, watercolour. He is known for his exploration of ‘99 cent Made-in China’ objects and for his evocative Broken Landscapes paintings.

Farkhondeh and Amer’s collaborative works have been shown at Galleria Francesca Minini in Milan, Kukje Gallery in Seoul, Tina Kim Gallery in New York and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. At the Dakar Biennale in 2018, they will exhibit a comprehensive selection of collaborative drawings made in the 2000s.

The artists will be in conversation with the curator of the exhibition, Lara Koseff, on Saturday, 20 January, discussing this new body of work and their unique collaborative practice, which spans just over a decade ago.

Who: Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh
Exhibition: Love is a Difficult Blue
Where: Goodman Gallery, 3rd Floor Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa
When: 18 January – 24 February, 2018
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday 10am – 4pm
Contact: 021 462 7573/4, cpt@goodman–
Web: www.goodman–
Social media: Instagram: @goodman_gallery, Twitter: @Goodman_Gallery, Facebook: Goodman Gallery