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
Maryam Ashkanian, Soodeh Bagheri, and Cecilia Monero-Yaghoubi
The Thread presents works by three female artists who incorporate stitching and thread as prominent features in the concept and structure of their work. The show includes small two-dimensional pieces and larger-scale installations by Maryam Ashkanian, Soodeh Bagheri and Cecilia Monero-Yaghoubi, with the threads literally and metaphorically forming a connection be-tween the artworks within the exhibition space.
Thread - one of the humblest yet possibly most versatile materials - has featured in the work of many influential artists throughout the ages and continues to make its mark in contemporary artworks. Maryam Ashkanian’s practice fuses the tradition of sewing with a highly developed painterly skill. In these works, Ashkanian uses elastic thread, working with the particularly changeable properties of the material.
The string, through its expansive and flexible nature, can be seen as a metaphor for the ever-changing physical and social existence of the artist and her relationship with the world around her. By picking apart pieces of used fabric, Soodeh Bagheri creates works that not only present elements of humor, but also establish a continuity between the past and present, between the artist and a previous, other thread of existence. Her works portray a world of fantasy, yet one that also embodies a bitter reality, where time passes us by and leads to an inevitable deterioration of all things. The clothes used in the works of Cecilia Moreno-Yaghoubi act as an extension and abstraction of the body.
In this subtle, yet focused research on the concept of identity, she explores a series of relationships and how, together, they establish an inner dynamic of emotions, reflections on our concept of civilization and women’s issues. The traditional role of clothing is sacrificed for a larger context, becoming a metaphor of our life and love.