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
Conference of the Birds
Yasmin Sinai is constantly looking for ways to make art simple and accessible to everybody. In her latest show, "Conference of the Birds", the Dubai-based artist of Iranian and Hungarian origin has used recycled cardboard, a needle and thread to create beautiful sculptures of a variety of birds. Sinai is also conducting workshops to teach this technique to all art lovers.
The show is inspired by Persian poet Farid-uddin Attar's famous poem, The Conference of the Birds. The poem tells the story of all the birds in the world gathering to decide who should be their king. They decided to find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical phoenix-like bird that lives on top of the Qaf mountain. Only 30 birds managed to complete the long and difficult journey, but all they found was a lake in which they saw their own reflections.
The story, which plays with the dual meaning of Simorgh - the legendary bird and Simorgh, which means 30 birds - is profoundly spiritual. Each bird in the story represents a human failing that prevents human beings from attaining enlightenment. And their journey involves crossing seven valleys that represent the different stages that, according to Sufi philosophy, one must traverse to realize the true nature of God. The 30 birds that completed this journey thus realized that the Simorgh of God resides within them and is reflected in the totality of existence.
"I have recently moved to Dubai and saw a hoopoe for the first time. I really liked this bird and it was the first one I made in this series. I was really excited to find out that in Attar's story, the hoopoe was the leader of the birds, I have made 15 of the 30 birds that completed the journey and the remaining 15 will be made by my students in the workshops," Sinai says.
The Birds include an owl, a rooster, a stork, playful parrots, a peacock and a Simorgh, depicted as a creature with a human head, body and a lion's feet. Instead of paint, Sinai has used colored cardboard and paper to create the feathers, crest and tails of the bird; and rather than using glue, she has sown together the cardboard pieces with colored thread. The birds are all perched a top stacks of shoe-boxes that have been painted white and decorated with cut-outs of traditional decorations found in Persian mosques.