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
Me and She
Abdul Raheem Salem
Abdul Raheem Salem is one of the pioneers in contemporary art in the UAE and the Gulf. Salem’s work with variety of the medium has proved his excellence not only in painting but also in other mediums such as sculpture. His recent paintings are presented in form of human figures and black and white shapes. The exhibition at Total Arts at the Courtyard showcases the latest work by Salem which clearly displays artistic thinking and presentation ability through his paintings which are result of 25 years of his artistic career.
Abdul Raheem Salem’s childhood has had a strong influence on his practice today. Growing up whilst surrounded by strong women who told stories of magic gave him an insurmountable imagination and led him to draw at a very early age. This magic began with She. Who is She? His fascination with Mohera, a true story told to him as a child, of a young woman who lived in Sharjah during the 1940s triggered the magic that he continues to create until today. She rejected the overtures of a man and was in turn punished with a spell cast upon her to roam endlessly lost, homeless, a wonderer in her own city.
An integral part of his upbringing and of Arab culture, storytelling has long driven Salem’s practice and his longstanding fascination with the story of Mohera is manifested in all his creations. Over the years, Mohera has changed. She is older and wiser. She has grown with Salem and is no longer represented as a lost or wandering being, but rather, she sits calmly at peace with what fate cast upon her. However, she still has no face. Salem gives us no answers. He is merely asking us to locate our own Mohera in each work.
In fact, all his works are titled Me and She. She is Salem’s companion through a journey of discovery. With each brushstroke her pain, discernible, and his pain, expressed by her mere creation. Salem studied sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Cairo University in order to further diversify his education in art. He returned home in the 80’s to find the contemporary art scene underdeveloped, and in subsequence, committed himself to furthering art in the UAE. A dedicated pioneer of contemporary art in the UAE, he is a founding member of the Emirates Fine Arts Society and chaired the foundation from 1982 to 2002. The award winning Sharjah-based artist has exhibited his work around the world.