I came across the magnificent sculpture Khalvat (2014) in Downtown Dubai by artist Sahand Hesamiyan. It is a gleaming white, pine-cone shaped steel work bristling with prism-like scales. Visitors engage with it as if encountering a placid vessel from another world and I couldn’t help but marvel at the detail and contemplate its meaning.
Khalvat is a Persian word that translates to a hidden and refers to a ‘sanctum’ or ‘place of solitude’ to which the mystic withdraws to seek the Truth. The task set by the artist is to search for the truth, which in Sufi tradition should be found in a clear form. In that sense, layers are peeled apart, opening to the viewer an ability to discover meaning, spirit and the core. I spent time alone with the work observing its intricacies, feeling a sense of inner peace and calm through the hypnotic geometric detail. The futuristic shape moves you away from your immediate environment and connects to your spiritual self.
Iranian architecture and form
Hesamiyan’s work presents a contemporary interpretation of traditional Iranian geometrical shapes. Khalvat demonstrates the way he dissects Iranian architectural forms into freestanding sculptures. It is a series of maquettes, their forms based on the triangular shapes in rasmibandi vaulting. Linking science and geometry to the abstract nature of spirituality, Khalvat is a reflective attempt to discover the esoteric nature of Iranian culture through the dissection of its architectural forms.
This was my first encounter with Hesamiyan’s art and I am in love. If you pass through Downtown, make sure you check it out. You can find out more about Sahand Hesamiyan here https://www.sahandhesamiyan.com/work/khalvat