Paper Positions Basel

11.Jun - 16.Jun 2019

GALERIE VON&VON is pleased to present calligrapher, printmaker and artist AATIFI in a solo show (booth #19) among 29 top-notch exhibitors at Paper Positions Basel, June 11-16, 2019.

Only a trained calligrapher like Aatifi, who has learned the rules of this traditional art for decades and masters them in his sleep, can dare to break exactly this stringent set of rules so lightheartedly and freely and thus put his works into a completely new context: The calligrapher, painter & graphic artist with Afghan roots introduces the tradition of centuries-old Arabic calligraphy to the free expression of contemporary art - and withstands the extraordinarily demanding balancing act between mastering characteristic letter proportions and creating his own, detached visual language up to the highest expert committees and museum collections.

The unambiguity and monumentality of the elements testify to a radical dynamism that runs like a thread through his entire oeuvre, although he pays no heed to the congruence or competition of the individual forms. The focus is on the light-hearted dance of the letters, which takes the viewer on a journey to previously unknown realms. Even without a linguistic background, everyone can feel the beauty of the color, the tension of the forms and the spatial effect.


The Kandahar-born artist Aatifi, who trained as a calligrapher as a child and later received a degree in painting from Kabul University, combines in his "scriptural art" the traditional, oriental art of writing with elements of modern, European art in an innovative and masterly way. At the core of his paintings lies the light-hearted dance of the letters, which takes the viewer on a journey into previously unknown realms of art. Even without deciphering distinct letters, the observer is welcomed to experience the beauty of the colors, which model the tension of the forms and their spatial effect, as well as their intense, aesthetic radiance. The characters, consisting of broad brushstrokes, form voluminous figures on the light background, individual splashes of paint expose traces of the painting process and offer a certain spontaneity to the works created under the highest concentration.

To the artist page