book series – water paintings
Book objects, 14 pieces, each: 27 x 20 x 4 cm
The first series of water works were created after Ahmad Rafi’s return, and they refer directly to his journey. There are 14 works in all. Whereas Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452-1519) life-long occupation with water, in all its manifestations, is reflected in a Water Book, Rafi has painted on existing books which have become the supports for his images. This combined with the form of presentation gives his paintings an installation character.
The 14 images are painted on the back of each of the acquired, hard-back, antiquarian books. This time on 14 bound issues of the German Alpine Association Magazine, from the year 1905. The books used by the artist then become not only a canvas for his work, but are also connected with the content of the painted images.
At first sight Rafi’s paintings seem close to photorealism, but this is not the case. It’s not a matter of reproducing an exact life like image, but creating instead a photorealistic exaggeration of reality, an “extra sharp focus reality”. Rafi does play with the seductive illusio-nistic effects of photography. But only so that the result, the painting, becomes a real presence in itself.
Gerhard Richter has, like no other, explored the medial possibilities in the interplay between painting and photography. In contrast to Richter however, Rafi doesn’t faithfully transfer the original photo into a painting. He allows himself freedom in his painting by changing, omitting, and adding. His illusionism leads to a new image, to his own image of water. This new series inevitably leads one to think of the already mentioned Leonardo da Vinci Water Book. In it the flood is treated as a form of the last judgement.