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
Fearless: The next wave of artists from Iran
Once there was a crack and a break and the bottom fell out and a great void appeared: a black hole.
Everyone who ventured near this magnetic whirlpool was sucked in and disappeared. At first, tears, chaos and terror reigned. Then, as each generation grew thicker skins and learned the ways of the black hole and how to feed and outwit it, the howling hole became a fact of life. By the fourth generation nothing had fundamentally changed: the black hole was there to stay. If the people had only one life to live it had to be lived on the edge and fearlessly. The people learnt.
Fearless is about 33 artists from Iran who have been working and working regardless of the market's madness because they are manically obsessed with what they do. These 33 artists have been expressly chosen from various generations (from 25 to 75 years old). There is no age limit to being an obsessive courageous lunatic working silently.
“It is always hard choosing 33 artists from so many unsung heroes but it has to be done so apologies for not having enough space to include every one,” says Fereydoun Ave, who has carefully selected pieces by these artists. “None of these artists have had media or market attention because of their obsession with work and not personal hype so I am glad to champion them.” In a time and space where nothing fundamentally changes, to continue working on personal visions is fearless and to see fear as the only real censorship is to come out of the shadows.
Fearless will open simultaneously at Total Arts in Dubai and three galleries in Tehran - Araan Projects, Lajevardi Foundation and O Gallery - showcasing these 33 artists who give visuality to fearlessness.
The paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations here encompass both figurative and abstract works, different in styles and media, and have been created by artists drawing on vastly different social, political and stylistic influences.
The full list of artists whose works are represented in the exhibition comprises Sara Abbasian, Sasan Abri, Nasser Bakhshi, Reza Bangiz, Afshan Daneshvar, Habib Farajabadi, Soussan Farjam, Nariman Farokhi, Farhad Gavzan, Kasra Golrang, Mohamad Hossein Golamzadeh, Vahid Hakim, Hadi Hazavi, Mehrdad Jafari, Ebrahim Kadem-Bayat, Nogol Mazloumi, Arsia Moghadam, Amir Mohamadzadeh, Omid Moshksar, Kaveh Najmabadi, Zahra Navaie, Farokh Nooroney, Mehrdad Pournazarali, Sepehr Mesri, Mohamad Pirati, Ali Razavi, Ashkan Sanei, Baktash Sarang, Sadegh Sadeghipour, Sharvin Shahrokh, Parissa Tayebi, Mohamad Reza Yazdi and Hossein Ali Zabehi.