Kamyar Bineshtarigh

Kamyar Bineshtarigh, Studio


Kamyar Bineshtarigh was born in 1996 in Semnan, Iran. He lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, he matriculated at Camps bay High School and graduated from Ruth Prowse School of Art in 2019 where he won the Ruth Prowse prize for the best body of practical work. His work has been featured in a number of group exhibitions in Cape Town, including Shaping Things at SMAC Gallery and STILL at Everard Read Gallery. Bineshtarigh’s debut solo cubicle exhibition, Pilgrim, opened at Everard Read/Circa Gallery (Cape Town) in 2019. In 2018, he was awarded the VAA award by ARP Residency, which led to his video work Shelter being screened at the Corto Lovere film festival in Lovere, Italy. Bineshtarigh is currently studying at Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT)

Bineshtarigh works in a variety of media, most notably painting and video. His conceptual concerns range from language, communication and the practice of writing and transliteration to the movement, migration and displacement of human bodies. Many of his paintings feature aspects of Farsi script and calligraphy, these textual elements often either broken up into pieces or pared down to a single painterly gesture, drawing parallels between pages of text and groups of bodies through repetitive mark-making.

His video works straddle the distinctions between cinema, documentary and video art, In his videos, he utilises cinematic techniques in order to poetically convey themes of displacement, conversely drawing on his own experiences of moving from Iran to South Africa in the depiction of his subjects.

"Untitled (Ghazal No. 125)", 2021, Printing ink on cotton, 35x35 cm
"Untitled (Ghazal No. 321)", 2021, Printing ink on denim, 117x103 cm
Untitled (Ghazal No.155, 439, 178, 229, 151, 263, 126, 133, 337, 55, 400, 359)
Untitled (Ghazal No. Ghazal No. 210, 456)
Kamyar Bineshtarigh Untitled (Ghazal No. Ghazal No. 210, 456)
"Untitled (Ghazal No. 162)", 2021, Printing ink on canvas, 114x77 cm

(Hafez) The Tongue of the Unseen Realms is an ongoing series of work, so far this project is made of 45 ghazals of Hafez at 45 moments of uncertainty. it has been a Persian tradition to consult Hafez when confronted with a difficult decision or choice. This practice is called “Faal-e Hafez” (the divination of Hafez). When used in divination, it is believed that Divan of Hafez will reveal the answer to one’s destiny, therefore his Divan was referred to as Lesan al-Ghayb (the Tongue of the Unseen Realms). These are 45 ghazals of my “Faal-e-Hafez” and forms the basis of this body of work.

خواجه شمس الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی (Khwajeh Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi), or Just Hafez, is a 13th century Persian poet. He is considered as one of the most prominent Persian poets. His influence can be felt to this date. There is perhaps no other poet that has mastered Persian language as refined as Hafez. His poetry expresses love, spirituality, and religious hypocrisy, but the most majestic part of Hafez’s poetry is its ambiguity, as it is almost impossible to pin down any of his verses. As Omid Safi once said: “Hafez is like a Rorschach psychological test in poetry”. Hafez is mystic himself, his given name “Hafez” means “who has committed the Quran to heart” yet he despises religious hypocrisy. He shows his own fidelity at the same time his poetry is filled with references to intoxication and wine that may be literal, according to seculars, or may be symbolic to religious purists.

In this body of work, I connect ambiguity of Hafez poetry and uncertainty of the Faal-e-Hafez and how it relates to the visual art language which I have attempted to represent visually.

Taking elements of the exercise of Faal-e-Hafez and translated those devices into a tactile medium through tearing the fabric and canvas, bleeding the ink and only allowing portions of the poetry to be seen. The poetry, as well as this body work, is about accepting uncertainty, and to meditate on the creation of new ways to interpret the world.

"Untitled (Ghazal No. 422)", 2020, Printing ink on canvas, 53x47 cm