Raha Raissnia & James Siena


Architecture, drawing, painting, sculpture...

Raha Raissnia & James Siena

Past: March 11 → April 29, 2023

Xippas Paris is happy to open a dialogue between two artists from overseas — Raha Raissnia and James Siena, who have never met before, even though their ‘encounter’ seems nothing but logical. Both share a common passion for the labyrinthine and the crypto-poetic. Both explore the behavior of abstract patterns, seeking to bring them to life. It was only a question of time, that their works would materialize themselves simultaneously and side by side, invading the two floors of the gallery space.

The — 1 level of the gallery is dedicated to James Siena’s artworks on paper, which explore the notion of algorithm, pushing it to its limits. Figurative works are also included, introducing a dialogue with his linear abstraction. His curvy shapes interlace, forming a “mind-boggling musculature”, to quote an American poet Geoffrey Young and James’s longtime collaborator whose beautiful text accompanyies the exhibition. The edgy lines build numerous puzzles and mazes; sometimes those bristle like animals, clenching their half-abstract jaws.

The + 1 level features visionary paintings by an Iranian-American artist Raha Raissnia. Echoing the drawings by James Siena, they unveil complex mazy structures — a façade here, a ‘spaceship’ there — bringing an architectural touch into abstraction. The biomorphic and the technological interweave. Reading the future from the lips of the past, Raha Raissnia’s artworks play with time, creating images that appear both ancient and futuristic, as if they have been excavated by future generations from the multiple layers of soil and dust…

By their side, one can find a couple of sculptures by James Siena, shown for the first time in Paris. Shaped out of toothpicks or molded in bronze after being 3D printed, they contribute to the wholesome vision, taking part in Raha Raissnia’s technopoetic dream…

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Raha Raissnia / James Siena, exhibition view, Xippas Paris, 2023 © Galerie Xippas

Raha Raissnia (b. in 1968 in Tehran, Iran) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Raha Raissnia describes her work as belonging to the field of “Expanded Cinema” in which simultaneous practices of painting, live projection and installation create the corpus of a work that declines itself materially in painting, drawing, filmmaking, and now photography. The multidisciplinary interconnectedness of Raha Raissnia’s work creates a complex mise-en-abime between architectonic elements and biomorphic geometry, shifting the viewer’s perspective between an anatomy of living organisms and advanced electronic circuitry, while passing through an array of influences and references very carefully selected from high-art and popular culture alike, such as architectural drawings, the labyrinthic twists and turns of (àth Century “Wild Style” graffiti, and Classical Islamic calligraphy.

Raha Raissnia’s work was recently shown in MoMA, New York (2021<22), Hessel Museum of Art (Annandale-On-Hudson, US) in 2020 and Drawing Lab in Paris (2019). Raissnia presented a solo exhibition of new work in 2017-18 at the Drawing Center (New York). In 2016, her work was the subject of a solo presentation at the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and in 2015, Raissnia’s work was included in All the World’s Futures of the 56th Venice Biennale. Previously, her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art St. Louis, The Kitchen (New York), the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art (Isfahan, Iran). Raissnia’s projection-performances have been held at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Arnolfini — Center for Contemporary Arts (Bristol, UK), Issue Project Room (New York), Emily Harvey Foundation (New York).

She is represented by Xippas (Paris, Geneva, Punta del Este), Miguel Abreu Gallery (New York) and Marta Cervera galeria (Madrid).

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James Siena, Sawtoothed Angry Forms, 2011 Graphite on paper — 28 × 21,5 cm Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Xippas

James Siena (b. in 1957 in Oceanside (California, US)) lives and works in New York.

James Siena is a seminal artist on the New York art scene. His work, by turns lithographs, engravings, drawings and paintings, involves complex geometrical abstractions established on the basis of a set of rules or “visual algorithms”. The mathematical rigour of the process does not, however, exclude the presence of the artist’s hand and the fragility of a gesture which is constantly repeated.

In 2019, James Siena won the Guggenheim Prize. His works features in such public collections as (selection) : Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), MoMA (New York), Miami Art Museum (Florida), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). He is represented by Xippas and Miles McEnery Gallery.

03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

108, rue Vieille du Temple

75003 Paris

T. 01 40 27 05 55 — F. 01 40 27 07 16


Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Tuesday – Friday, 10 AM – 1 PM / 2 PM – 7 PM
Saturday, 10 AM – 7 PM

The artists

  • Raha Raissnia
  • James Siena