17 April – 22 May 2021
Mostafa Sarabi

The Island Club is pleased to present A Stranger in the Island, a solo exhibition by Mostafa Sarabi.

“I wake up from a dream and I don’t remember the dream. Again and forever. Dreams that I do remember, however, remain vivid, in all their fine details, and I carry them with me everywhere.

They accompany me to my painting studio.

I will share some of those dreams with you along with my paintings.

In the first dream, I find my bed in the middle of a garden with a zebra grazing next to me. It is so vivid that I feel it’s real. It turns sour when I see that I am sprawled on the bed by myself and I can’t see my wife anywhere.

In the second dream, I am caught in a strange plant. I can’t move. The scent of the plant is too strong and I have difficulty breathing. There is nevertheless something pleasurable about the fresh scent and I inhale it deleteriously. In my dream, I find aversion and attraction, and lose both abruptly.

Alas, this third dream keeps on repeating. I have seen Roberto Baggio miss the fateful penalty at the 1994 World Cup final as many times as there are blades of grass on the football field. This dream keeps on. And I have to go over the scene with Roberto himself many times.

The end of this text and the last dream.

I have seen myself with multiple heads countless times–half human, half beast. Sometimes my head becomes so big that it can’t be contained by the frame. The image refuses to abide by proportionality. It knows no laws. It’s possible to see clouds as yarn and paint them on the next day. In dreams, trees move and no one can stop them.

My dreams are the world of displaced forms and colours, a world where you can enact visual laws and be your very own self or not be your very own self; either way, it suits me fine. It’s the biggest gift. And more beautiful still is to be a painter and to paint.

I like to add this story, which is not really about dreams. In childhood, I once caught a cold and they took me to the doctor’s. On the way back, I held on to the prescription. Having recovered, I started copying the prescription on another piece of paper. My family was delighted that I was going to be a doctor. In fact, it seems that I learned painting by imitating the doctor’s handwriting.”

– Mostafa Sarabi, January 2021 (translated from Farsi by Sohrab Mahdavi)

Mostafa Sarabi
(b. 1983, Kermanshah, Iran) lives and works in Tehran. He received an MA in Painting from Shahed University, Iran. He has presented solo exhibitions at Balice Hertling (Paris, 2020), the Delgosha Gallery (Tehran, 2020, 2018, 2017), and the Atashzad Gallery (Tehran, 2009). His work has been included in group shows at the Passerelle Centre d’Art Contemporain (Brest, 2020), the Peres Projects Gallery (Berlin, 2020), the Giardino Segreto (Milan, 2019), the Delgosha Gallery (Tehran, 2019, 2018), the Shirin Gallery (Tehran, 2011), and the 5th Visual Art Experimental Festival Youth Art (Tehran, 2010).

With special thanks to: Alexis Antoniades, Alexandros Diogenous, Panayiotis Pierides, Polis Pilavas, Eleni Roumpani, Negar Azimi, Augustin de Lestrange, Shabahang Tayyari and the Delgosha Gallery.

All works courtesy of four private collections.