Toba Khedoori produces nothing but drawings, but drawings of such scale, sparseness and staged stillness they are equally amenable to being described as architectural-installations or one-dimensional sculptures. The absence of figures or any apparent emotion, the strict tightness and control of the compositions, the vast expanse of virgin paper, not to mention the thickness and solidity of this paper itself, combine to make Khedoori’s work strikingly fresh if not froid (above, a detail of “Untitled”, 2002). Whilst drawing has traditionally been the most intimate and expressive of media, Khedoori’s drawings propose quite the opposite, a graphic code that refuses all emotion, passion or personal revelation, closer to architectural rendering, urban mapping, than sketchy humanism. It is this intellectual rigour combined with the slightly amateur formality of presentation, that slightly skewed classicism, which lures the viewer into wanting to know more whilst being given not the slightest information. The new works at David Zwirner concentrate on a mountain range, always a rich trope of Romantic allegory and spiritual metaphor (until 16 November). But these mountains deny all such associations, as if Khedoori had picked just such a subject matter to test how stark a version could be made of so lush a historic theme.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'What's on: Toba Khedoori'