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
25 YEARS OF COURTYARD
Total Arts at the Courtyard is pleased to present 25 Years of Courtyard, an exhibition of a journey from inception, revisiting some of the early days' photos, documents, fragments, and remains of salvaged and repurposed materials found over the last 25 years.
Courtyard Art & Community centre, located in the Al Qouz area in Dubai, is a privately established and operated community funded, designed and built by the designer architect, photographer and nature enthusiast Dariush Zandi between 1992 to 1998. At the time, the Al Qouz area was just an industrial district with many factories and workshops. But Dariush, as an urban designer and in love with all cultural and artistic fortes, could feel an energy of possibilities. Arriving from Soho artistic neighborhood and enlightened by master artists such as Rothko and Christo, Dariush aimed high and dreamed higher to build a creative zone in the middle of this industrialized location. The higher the dream harder to reach, but if 'pessimism' is not part of one's lexicon, the only impossible is the impossible. Eventually, his dream blossomed, and after the grand opening of the Courtyard on the 21st of March 1998, it significantly and gradually changed the industrial spot into a promising creative zone. Years after, many galleries and art studios relocated or established in or around the new Courtyard community. The physical and spiritual life of the Courtyard organically but consciously transforms into Dubai's art and cultural hub.
From the architectural perspective, the Courtyard is a composition of different architectural styles inspired by contemporary architecture yet creates a fine line between modernity and tradition. The building comprised two modern-style gate buildings facing two main roads and a courtyard with five buildings with facades on either side —a total of 10 fronts, showcasing the dominating architectural style of the region Khaliji architecture. From a different narration, they function as a permanent museum of elevations as numerous building components, from shipwreck windows, anchors, old dhows railings, and timber decks to thrown-away building materials, are salvaged and homed in the courtyard buildings by the architect. All the objects in the Courtyard somehow hold and breathe history into the representation of today. Some items collected from the houses during the demolition and changing era in the mid-80s by Dubai municipality, for instance, the doors, windows, Mashrabia screens, and glass panels saved from the Bastakia neighborhood. The story of the Courtyard is the story of the city and cultures in an abstract language. The Courtyard has meant to be a diverse place for people, businesses, art, culture and greenery to interact, meet, enjoy, sense, learn and grow in the heart of the middle east. The Courtyard is a dream come true!