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
Photography has become part of Niki Karimi’s career, since she started criss-crossing Iran, from Tafresh to Kurdistan, Zanjan to Bushehr to perform as leading role in many of the 25 movies she has acted in since 1989.
“Nothing is stronger and more powerful and yet peaceful than nature, it’s sort of a meditation,” says Niki.
What dominates Niki’s photos are the feelings of minimalism, quietness, and the sense of solitude. As she says, “you feel alone in the middle of the strength of nature”.
Juxtaposition and play of dark and light patches and the drama of nature are portrayed in sky and landscape, combined with serenity and peace yet turbulent and dramatic. The forms of the rolling hills and the simple country path lead the viewer’s eyes into the center stage of the scene and often into infinity, in some way reminds the viewer of the dramas of her movies.
The natural elements like trees, bushes and water, play an important role in drawing one’s attention and like a performer on stage, sitting silently yet captivating.
The photographs in this show are black and white and according to Niki, stress the highlight of the images and focuses on the composition rather than the subject matter.
Niki Karimi is an actress, filmmaker, writer, photographer and translator. She believes these disciplines are connected and have helped her awareness, and the way she expresses herself and her thoughts.
Niki has won many international awards for her acting. She has directed three films: A Few Days Later (official selection at Rome Film Festival), One Night (official selection at Cannes Film Festival), and To Have Or Not To Have.
She has also been a jury member in many recognized film festivals across Europe and the Middle East since 2002 and has translated four books to the Persian language.