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
In A Space Between Rocks
March / May 2022
The title of the exhibition is less about the primary image that it suggests, the solid volume of a rock, the object of contemplation and worship nor does it refer to the big goals and priorities.
It rather denotes emptiness and porosity. “In a space in between Rocks”, where the wind blows and the water runs through. The space frames the sky and lets the rays of light penetrate the depth. The permeable space of energy and life for things to grow, ideas to develop, thoughts to wonder, and connections to be made.
The title is a verse by the wandering poet-monk Saigyo (1118-90).
The exhibition features recent works by:
Shaqayeq Arabi, Fereydoun Ave, Hind Bin Demaithan, Cyrus, Yasmin Sinai & Dariush Zandi
SHAQAYEQ ARABI’s assemblages are composed of simple materials, junk, and left-overs,… that she found in nature, actually in between rocks!
Her work is fundamentally abstract and speaks to both the built, urban environment and the natural world by combining the textures of found objects with the rawness of materials.
FERYDOUN AVE’s series of works is a play with the abstraction of letters of the two alphabets that he has a relationship with. “ Letters of the alphabet are abstract but words are not”
HIND BIN DEMAITHAN’s Video Installation “Ma’bain’albainain” is a meditative video composition that invites spectators to reflect on the space in-between us as beings, the space in-between our thoughts, the space in-between layers of earth and beyond. A collective of moving images that are imprinted on fabric and threads.
CYRUS’s eternal source of inspiration and his most influential teacher has been nature.
YASMIN SINAI’s installation is inspired by the famous book “the world of wonders” by Aja’ib Al Makhlouqat, the central “Self Portrait” is a Capricorn on a rock and in between rocks.
Her practice primarily draws on ancient traditions of storytelling and performance, often forming narrative scenes. Her material of choice is paper, which is symbolic of her overall aesthetic and approach to personal expression.
DARIUSH ZANDI’s dramatic black and white photographs of the rocks are shot during his recent trips in the wilderness of the UAE, presented on rotation as well as a video installation.