blacks exhibition

November 2017 - January 2018

Blacks Club, Soho presents Paper Dolls, Hormazd Narielwalla

The artist Hormazd Narielwalla is as much a magnificent narrator as he is a skilled tailor of intricate visual stories. Born in India and now living in London, with recent shows at Southbank Centre and the Royal Academy, Narielwalla has carved out his unique place on the contemporary art scene as the master puppeteer, instilling new life into paper shapes from the past through the creation of rich layers of meaning, symbolism and sublime abstract patterns of colour and form alike.

Narielwalla’s work is an open invitation to the spectator to join him on a journey in the mind, an offering of unknown splendour and hidden detail, high seriousness and eye-twinkling allusions side by side. Paper Dolls at Blacks Club brings together a collection of his signature abstract collage works on vintage sewing patterns, alongside a set of six figurative self-portraits, where Narielwalla casts himself as a mysterious Geisha. Inspired by a chance encounter in the streets of Soho, the artist is lured into an exploration of the far-east and takes the viewer along, as he conjures up paper dolls from Japan, hidden places, people and portraits:

"Sitting in a café in Soho to get a sense of the neighbourhood of Blacks, I watched the world go by, when suddenly this very eccentric Japanese woman walks past me. She was very mysterious and it made me think about the essence of this very private members’ club, as a hidden, secret oasis that has attracted idiosyncratic characters from all corners of the globe, since Georgian times." the artist explains.

From this chance encounter, the central story of the exhibition evolved into one of a mysterious guest to the club – an exotic, mystical Geisha, surrounded by paper dolls and secret gardens. With references to Japanese hand-crafted papers, Kimonos and origami papers, the show evokes a scent of escapism and fantasy, secret encounters, of mystery and seduction. And it is as if the artist himself dares to peek out from behind the scenes and catch the visitor’s eye in the last room of self-portraits as a Geisha, made from intricate collages referencing his other works.

Download Exhibition Catalogue