Touch-Untouch

On view at the Center for Book Arts Main Gallery April 17 through June 27.

Throughout history, there have been many discourses on the relationship between the senses of touch and sight, the eye and hand. The fields of art, psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science have all shed light on how these senses influence human understanding and perception of their bodies, objects, and the environment around them. In light of these fields of inquiry, researcher Mark Paterson has argued that “within an academic climate that celebrates visual cultures, and the popular media’s infatuation with visuality, touch remains largely neglected, forgotten” (The Senses of Touch 2007, 1).

Curated by Maryam Ghoreishi, Touch-Untouch not only investigates the sense of sight, but also of touch. Through the artworks of Amina Ahmed, Bahman Mohammadi, Masoumeh Mohtadi, and Shirin Salehi, each of these senses— either acting alone or working together— reminds the visitor of the vital role of discovery and understanding that sight and touch play together in determining tactile sensations. Visitors’ interactions with each artwork imply the concept of mystery via confrontations with unfamiliar objects or situations. While some works are covered and may only be touched, some can only be viewed, not touched: each concealing a different approach, resulting in the process of discovery. Touch-Untouch is also designed with a reading section containing multiple books in English, Farsi, and Spanish, with a sculpture by Ramyar Vala.

These books have been used either by the artists in the exhibition as conceptual sources or by the curator in her research, thus revealing the research and construction process. In accompaniment to the exhibition, a master class and a workshop/seminar by Shirin Salehi will explore the relationship between the concepts of silence and mystery, as well as a book-making workshop by Amina Ahmed in which she will bind all of the slips of paper class’s collective experience of her work into a book.

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 16
Master Class by Shirin Salehi: Friday-Sunday, April 24-April 26
Artist Talk with Shirin Salehi, moderated by Maryam Ghoreishi: Thursday, April 23 6:30pm
Interactive Artist Talk with Amina Ahmed: Thursday, June 25, 6:30pm

Support for the Center for Book Arts’ Visual Arts Program is provided, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.