The sisters of mercy,
they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me
when I thought that I just can't go on.
And they brought me their comfort
and later they brought me this
Yes you who must
you cannot control.
begins with your family,
but soon it comes around to your soul.
In her latest work, a series of meditations on The sisters of mercy—the haunting lyrics
by Leonard Cohen— Malekeh Nayiny creates an austere, multi-faceted response of her own.At first a feeling of disorientation
overcomes the viewer: the shock of being in an emergency ward where the sober geometry of the setting and the sense of order
belie the anticipated pain as well as the uncertain outcome. Then each work brings its own demands. The perspective becomes
one of seeing through shattered glass, not only darkly but in a disjointed manner, reminiscent of snapshots taken out of one's
own sack of memories, and arranged in a sanitized world turned upside down, where the whirling fan adds to the sultry stillness.
There is the nurse, in three-quarter view, dressed in blue against a background of green drawing room wall-paper, so soothing
to the eye; a quiet interlude before the implicit violence of the stark monochrome of the Three Frames. Dressed soberly to
kill or to cure, the life-saving sisters leave an indelible impression of conflicting emotions: of mercy, and pain, of calm
repose and muted violence. Seen in the context of Nayiny's previous works, such as her exuberant celebration of
"travelling demons," they demonstrate her remarkable ability to venture out on new paths, or perhaps re-visit
the same memories in a different mood. The realistic dimensions vary, but the magic remains the same.
Text written by Mohsen Ashtiany