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Sanam Khatibi

°1976, Tehran (IR) – lives and works in Brussels (BE)

The work of the Iranian-Belgian artist Sanam Khatibi explores power structures and primary impulses, which sit on the divide between human and animal. In her paintings, embroidery, tapestries and ceramic sculptures, she questions our relation to excess, loss of control, dominance, submission, and the male-female dynamic.

While at first glance, the work of Khatibi is very appealing and seductive, a closer look reveals something is off and uneasy. Female figures take center stage in Khatibi's work. They are all dominant, exuberant and seductive women. The artist calls these figures 'nymphs', and she portrays them in the nude form in Arcadian landscapes. Within this colorful, idyllic setting, the male is present in the form of animals – such as deer, crocodiles, snakes or lions. Khatibi doesn’t differentiate between figures, animals, and landscape – they’re all of equal importance.

The relationship between these different protagonists is often one of power and ambiguity: animals are being mounted or skinned, women decapitate each other, or they make bestial love to the animals. Their interaction reminds us of our most basic instincts that touch upon the core of our bestiality.

The work of Sanam Khatibi has been shown internationally, at venues such as Various Small Fires, Los Angeles; Harlan Levy, Brussels; Christine König Gallery, Vienna; Trampoline, Antwerp; The Cabin, Los Angeles; and Superdakota, Brussels. Upcoming shows include Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille; and Lyles & King, New York. 

Sanam Khatibi is represented by the following gallery; 
click through to discover more of her work. 

Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels

works by Sanam Khatibi