SĪMURĞ Installation View

 SĪMURĞ Installation View

SĪMURĞ Installation View

SĪMURĞ Installation View

Nicolas Baier
Constellation (noire) 44ETA Lib, 2019
Polyactic acid, carbon black, nitro 2G paint, steel, meteorite
24h x 39w in
61h x 99.1w cm

Nicolas Baier
Constellation (or) 44ETA Lib, 2019
Polylactic acid, acrylic paint, brass leaf
24h x 39w in
60.96h x 99.06w cm

Nicolas Baier
Hublot 95 Leo, 2019
Inkjet print, acrylic, steel
24 in diameter
11 cm diameter

Anne  Lindberg
30 birds, 2019
cotton thread and staples
2h x 8w x 5d ft
24h x 96w x  60d in

Anne Lindberg
Insomnia 22, 2018
colored pencil on vellum adhered to archival pigmented print
28 x 34 inches
71.12 x 86.36 cm

Gonzalo Lebrija
Veladura Nocturna, 2019
Oil on Linen
74.80h x 59.06w in
190h x 150w cm

Hope Atherton
Pair of Hawks, 2011
10.50h x 4w x 5d in
26.67h x 10.16w x 12.70d cm

Hope Atherton
Untitled, 2017
4 1/8 x 16 ¾ x 16 inches
10.4 x 42.5 x 40.6 cm

Hope Atherton, Nicolas Baier, Frank Dufour, Gonzalo Lebrija, Anne Lindberg

SĪMURĞ Curated by Muriel Quancard

November 23, 2019 – January 18, 2020



Hope Atherton, Nicolas Baier, Frank Dufour, Gonzalo Lebrija, Anne Lindberg


an exhibition curated by Muriel Quancard

November 23 - January 4, 2020 


A new life flow towards them from that bright

Celestial and ever-living light -

Their souls rose free of all they had been before;

The past and all its actions were no more.

There in the Simorgh 's radiant face they saw

Themselves, the Simorgh of the world - with awe

They gazed, and dared at last to comprehend

They were the Simorgh and at the journey's end.

- The Conference of the Birds, Farîd-ud-Dîn Attâr


Can a 12th century Sufi poem coexist with a group of contemporary artworks and heighten the perception of Western art forms? The experiment attempted here is an overlay of literary references, traditional techniques, various media and technologies. Four bodies of works —by Hope Atherton, Nicolas Baier, Gonzalo Lebrija, and Anne Lindberg—resonate with Farîd-ud-Dîn Attâr’s epic allegory of Islamic Sufi mysticism, The Conference of the Birds. Each body of work forms a unique cosmography that chimes with aspects of this allegorical tale. An auditory experience, conceived by Frank Dufour of the collective Agence 5970, compels the visitor to delve into their mysteries.

Attâr’s poem is an esoteric quest for truth following the birds of the world on a journey as they seek the king of birds, the Simorgh. The hoopoe offers to lead them to Mount Qaf, a green emerald mountain surrounding the earth, where the Simorgh live. The birds fly across seven valleys: quest, love, knowledge, detachment, unity, wonderment, and annihilation. After various trials, just thirty birds overcome suffering and reach spiritual enlightenment; When they arrive at Mount Qaf, the exhausted and depleted birds, realize that the Simorgh, which in old Persian means thirty (si) birds (morgh), is a reflection of themselves. The powerful bird is hidden in each of them and they all together, in unity, are the Simorgh.

In his “Veladuras Nocturnas” paintings, Gonzalo Lebrija achieves spatial depth with a traditional glazing technique involving the application of multiple layers of translucent and iridescent paint over an opaque underlayer. The painting’s geometric shapes are based on origami paper planes reminiscent of childhood memories. Evocative of cones of light, they recall the cosmic landscape of Mount Qaf, where the invisible is revealed.

Anne Lindberg’s diaphanous installation also summons a dimension in which the corporal becomes ethereal. The artist has stretched a multitude of threads across a corner of the gallery which brings to mind a flock of birds. The aggregation of lines seems to dissolve the space while creating a sense of velocity, reminding us that space and time are embedded in a continuum. Presented on another wall, her “insomnia drawings” evoke landscapes from a bird’s-eye view. The artist drew serpentine lines on vellum that is laid atop photographs of her bed taken each morning upon waking; a process that resulted in subtle topographical reliefs.

Nicolas Baier’s bas-reliefs from the “Constellation” series depict arbitrary connections between the stars from a non-terrestrial vantage point. He creates cartographies based on coordinates issued by astronomical databases such as the Bright Star Catalogue. The stars connected via an algorithm form random constellations. These topographies are carved in high-density foam with a CNC (computer numeric control) machine and coated with brass or with meteorite graphite.

Hope Atherton resorts to ancestral techniques to create sculptures that point toward nontraditional temporalities. Due to their elemental qualities, they occupy a site of possibility between the past and future. Two birds coalesce in an enigmatic posture so as to form one mass. Their vulnerability recalls the trials encountered by the birds in Attar’s poem and the ultimate transformation that followed.


Translated by Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi