25 February 2024–20 September 2024

Carpets of Eden, Gardens of Fantasy

Curated by Behrang Samadzadegan

Part of Alserkal Art Week

Starts 25 February 2024

Ends 20 September 2024

Venue Leila Heller Gallery

Warehouse 86/87


In the ethereal domain of fibers and threads, where the ordinary converges with the enchanting, carpets emerge as tacit narrators, murmuring tales of a transcendent Eden. Within their woven realms unfolds a ballet of fantasy—a choreography of patterns and hues that captivates the senses and sparks the imagination.

The carpet, understood as a flat, patterned surface, served as a model for painters at the end of the nineteenth century and was a frequent point of comparison when discussing works. The Oriental carpet was of continuous importance even though it might be claimed that interest peaked during the nineteenth century; in the wake of Orientalism, carpets were a well-established motif as a code for the exotic.

These carpets, much like dreamers, yearn for Eden. They embody more than mere threads and fibers; they carry the echoes of an enchanted garden, a sanctuary of dreams. In the quiet corners of our homes, these carpets become sanctuaries where fantasy blossoms.

Artists, whether by conscious choice or the unconscious pull of inspiration, find themselves drawn into the intricate embrace of these textile gardens. Some become lost in the meticulous order of patterns and the rhythmic geometry, finding solace in the structured beauty of carpets.

Yet, within this order resides a realm of unexplored creativity—a territory where artists navigate unbridled fantasies. Like architects of dreams, they go beyond the surface, delving into the unseen, weaving layers of imagination that transcend the tangible. Here, carpets cease to be mere floor coverings; they metamorphose into canvases, hosting a symphony of dreams where fantasy begets more fantasy.

The very notion of "fantasy within fantasy" becomes a portal through which artists journey into the depths of their imaginative worlds. As they thread the needle of creation, they infuse these woven tapestries with the essence of their dreams, intertwining reality and fantasy in a mesmerizing dance.

In "Carpets of Eden, Gardens of Fantasy," the viewer is invited to explore these realms—a pilgrimage through the fantastical gardens where carpets dream and artists awaken the dormant magic within. Each step unveils a narrative, a brushstroke of creativity inspired by the rich tapestry beneath our feet. Let the exhibition stand as a testament to the extraordinary potential found in the overlooked corners of our daily lives— a celebration of the ordinary transformed into the extraordinary.

This exhibition not only offers new perspectives on carpet research and artistic exploration but also presents the carpet as a model for understanding art and art histories in a broader sense.


Etel Adnan, Faig Ahmed, Maryam Al-Homaid, Ayman Baalbaki, Melis Buyruk, Josefina Concha, Ali Cha’aban, Mohammad Ehsaei, Bijan Ghaseminejad, Shoeib Gorgani, Marcos Grigorian, Shahzad Hassan Ghazi, Areen Hassan, Mona Hatoum, Debbie Lawson, Aref Montazeri, Soheil Rad, Farid Rasulov, Marwan Sahmarani, Antonio Santin, Parviz Tanavoli, Shaheer Zazai.