Studio Said

Impurities of Iridescence, 2005

Photographs of Islamic or Moorish and Mudejar art in al-Andalus with a twist. These are not pages from an Owen Jones catalog of antique two-dimensional ornament but records of the spontaneous and unrepeatable iridescence from the glazed surfaces of these geometric tiles. Owing to the presence of impurities in either the kiln or glazes, it is possible that these ceramics were purposely fired for this iridescent effect. Arabian Luster is the name given to a technique developed in 10th-century Abbasid Iraq whereby paint is applied to an already glazed ceramic, then re-fired in a "reducing" kiln. When these paints are removed, the luster layer is exposed. Iridescence adds an ephemeral color effect based on scattering, interference and the diffraction of light. Impurities and imperfection contribute a surreal beauty and distinctiveness to my extended experience of these tiles.