Visual Dialogues | The Book of Kings | Shirin Neshat & Fereydoun Ave | March 2019
Secret of Words
Mehran Mohajer & Sadegh Tirafkan
Total Arts Gallery at the Courtyard and Massoud Nader Present exhibition of Photography by Sadegh Tirafkan with support of Silk Road Gallery this exhibition is accompanied by photographs of Mehran Mohajer Sadegh Tirafkan is a persevering artist who navigates through time and culture in search of his place and identity as an Iranian man in the contemporary world. The medium of photography has become his main platform to construct powerful visual plays, using a combination of elements that he seasons sufficiently with symbolism.
The significance of symbolism throughout Tirafkan’s body of work comes from his Persian root in which direct dialogue is rarely used, but frequently replaced by symbolic languages. How do you inform a culture that has three thousand years of history, rich in tradition and essentially a homogenous and male dominated society? Tirafkan expresses his concerns through images of numerous self-portraits and portraits of friends. He once said, "I began photography by recording what surrounded me. Now I take what is around me in the studio and make it into what I see through the prism of my life and culture." Tirafkan poses himself and others in the studio time after time to explore the meaning of being a contemporary Iranian. Blending tradition, history and memory, he recreates visually compelling scenes that build visceral connection to his ancient country. And this is where the strength and beauty of Tirafkan's work lie.
In reinventing and revisiting Iranian tradition he is also criticizing and challenging his ancestors' long-standing authority. In spite the highly eloquent appearances; I see two hidden trends in his work, which the artist has perhaps introduced even without realizing it: a theatrical staging of all the historic drama of his country, all the painful events of which he experienced intensely, and a discreet journey towards a spirituality which emanates from his whole vision. Here, Tirafkan surreptitiously rejoins the mystical quest which remains, whether we like it or not, the key-stone of any metaphysical edifice of the Iranian world. Born in Iran in 1965, Tirafkan trained as a photographer at the University of Fine Arts in Tehran. Since the late 1990’s he has participated in numerous solo exhibitions and group shows, in Tehran, Paris and New York.
Tirafkan’s work offers an eloquent meditation on modern Iranian man’s relationship to his past and on his search for a meaningful identity in the present. Identity, history and memory have been central concerns in the work of non-western artists since the era of colonialism. Tirafkan, frequently using himself as a model, revisits and reinvents these themes in his series of enigmatic yet visually compelling photographs. He uses words and symbols to communicate with the audience and
Abstract & Lanscape
A. Mohseni was born in 1960, in Kermanshah west of Iran. He started painting with Master Rahim Navesi before moving to Tehran. He held his first one-man show in 1994 and has come a long way from his humble beginnings. Landscape, traditional life and nature were always his main subjects to paint and after moving to UAE he found this passion in the local scenery. T
his exhibition would be an exceptional one in Mohseni’s career since he is entering a new period after 10 years of professionally painting landscapes and still life witch is still the close to Mohseni’s heart in a different way. Mohseni has participated in more than 40 solo and group exhibitions in Iran including Tehran Contemporary Art Museum, Australia, Kuwait and the UAE. Mohseni has won a special award from Tehran Contemporary Art Museum as the best Artist of the year in 1996. Mohseni has published 2 books, which are: 1. Nature in the painting of Abdol Hossein Mohseni 2. Painting of Abdol Hossein Mohsenis He is working on two new books at present.
TOTAL ARTS GALLERY
at the Courtyard
0.0625mm in Diameter
By Hind Bin Demaithan, Jawaher Al Khayyal and Ola Allouz
Showing its debut, the exhibition unveils a collaborative design installation. It is a design experience featuring furniture design, photography, video objects and programming throughout the week, supported and managed by Hamzat Wasl Studio - a creative community collective.
The show is curated and designed by Hind Bin Demaithan (featuring herself); Jawaher Al Khayyal and Ola Allouz. The design installation will be activated by live music, spoken word poetry, private photoshoot sessions, falcon interactions and more.
The idea of the three creatives, coming together is extracted from the theme of the exhibition itself. From the 0.0625mm diameter of one sand grain to the bewildered sand dunes, which always hold the Hatheera, the Bedouin winter ‘gathering’. Like a time capsule, a retro effect to redesign the Hatheera. Known today as the Majlis, or the gathering place of the Bedouins is unleashed. As ‘a once upon a time’ meeting place for the inhabitants of this land, it will yet again be the design installation with contemporary elements at Total Arts gallery. A place of bonding, mingling and interacting in the cold winter evenings, the Hatheera is re-innovated time and again to align with Dubai’s cultural vision.
“Why do people gather around in a semicircle or in close proximity to chat? How many ways can people sit together in a circle? What are the topics discussed? What are the age groups? Are they relatives, friends or strangers? I’ve always been mesmerized by the idea of coming together.
A place of bonding, mingling and interacting in the cold winter evenings, the Hatheera is re-innovated time and again to align with Dubai’s cultural vision. This is where readapting the Hatheera sprung from. Recently I have been spending much of my time in the desert and the practices of day-to-day life away from the city. It occurred to me how alike the Hatheera setting is to our creative gatherings, family get together and group meetings. This led me to reach out to Jawaher and Ola and have them join me on this venture of bringing the Hatheera to the city. Getting inspiration from the Markh's (Leptadenia pyrotechnics) form and purpose, the sunlight reflection weaved through the plant structure on the sand and the grains enfolding you as you sit and embrace nature”, Says Hind Bin Demaithan. “I encourage everyone to come and take part in our Hatheera, it’s a gathering place for everyone,” pointed out Hind.
Dariush Zandi, founder of Total Arts Gallery says: “0.0625mm in diameter - Al Hatheera show reminds me of the evenings sitting with Bedouin friends in the desert winter sunsets. That is the shadow of darkness feeling the heat of fire, smells of the cardamom coffee, the sweetness of dates and the brush of slow-moving breeze, listening to whispers reciting poetry, and gazing at the rhythm of moving souls, altogether all unifying the essence of the gathering. I couldn’t find a better match than having this in place at the Courtyard which in a way has risen from the earth, the sand and this culture. Having collaborated with Emirati earliest generation of artists in the past quarter of a century, Total Arts at Courtyard is proud to be part of this growth and evolution of the art of the UAE and very excited to be the platform for young and emerging artists of today, which this exhibition represent the most.”
“Experiencing the construction of a traditional Hatheera, built using Markh wood and sitting on the sand which held the structure in place, inspired me to recreate this experience, bringing it into an Art Gallery. 0.0625 mm in Diameter was designed to celebrate what is left of the traditional Hatheera and its role in bringing people together. Sand has been transformed into concrete stools as the Markh Hatheera has been transformed into steel room dividers. Thus, the Hatheera has been industrialised and adapted to our modernised city of Dubai.” Jawaher Al
“As an artist, what stirs me the most is to accompany other artists through their creative journey, to share the joy and excitement and the fears, to see how the inspiration emerges into an exhibition and transcends into a personal language of each. This is even more enhanced when the inspiration comes from the culture you live in and a deep-rooted tradition like the Hatheera,” says Shaqayeq Arabi.
“I am thrilled to have worked on the implementation of this art experience. Translating Hatheera as a photographer was based on emotions and feelings surrounding it, sitting with the people who have the experience and knowledge about it, I have combined the main elements of photography lights and shadow to express that feeling,” said Ola Allouz.
“I had my fears when I was thinking of the destination, forgetting that it’s about the journey, not the destination. I love taking photographs that call attention to things that other people overlook. I use photography as a means to document the world around me. This exploration of the overlooked helps me engage more deeply with where I am in space and time. I always aim to create photographs that draw viewers into the now. A focus on details keeps us in the present; it stops us from fretting about the future or regretting the past,” concluded Ola who looks forward to capturing the untold stories.
Press coverage of the exhibition on WAM
Press coverage of the exhibition on Gulf Tourism
Press coverage of the exhibition on Al Khaleej
Press coverage of the exhibition on Al Bayan