Charcoal on paper, 2013, 22x18
These charcoal drawings are the result of three weeks of residency as a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome in the summer of 2013. The drawings attempt to illustrate the spatial depth of imagination in the poetry of the Persian mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi (Sept. 30, 1207 – Dec. 17, 1273).
Traditionally in architecture, one draws in order to represent space as object. These drawings are about constructing space as subject. In pictorial space, the authority manifests itself in perspectival space of central composition. In these drawings, the compositional content is removed to privilege an encounter vis-à-vis movement, pause, movement, pause. Representation is not about replication; rather, it’s about experience. These drawings move one from instruction – explanation – toward inquiry and experience.
MYSTERIES OF SUFI TEACHING
The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the question.
Nor is bought with going amazing places.
Until you’ve kept your eyes and wanting still for fifty years.
You don’t begin to cross over from confusion.
What was whispered to the rose to break it open
Last night was whispered to my heart.
Behzad Nakhjavan is Professor of Architecture at Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.