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
Shaqayeq Arabi and Fereydoun Ave
Fereydoun Ave & Shaqayeq Arabi continue their ongoing dialogue with one another’s practices exploring the fields of the three and two dimensional, using the place where these two different planes meet to explore a mutual interest in material, abstraction and the found object.
Fereydoun Ave's new cycle of works “Shah Abbas and his Page Boy” marks a high point of his oeuvre. It brings together the sum total of what distinguishes him as a great Iranian artist – and, indeed, as a true cosmopolitan.
In his work, Ave weaves together, as it were, a web that sums up the world in all its complexities and contradictions. He unites the artistic expression of the Western avant-garde – Ave was a close friend to Cy Twombly – with that of Eastern traditions. By using ambivalence as a constructive principle he does not bring about a culture clash but rather a syncretically appealing fusion. The works in Shah Abbas and his Page Boy recall the form of community-living that has been practiced in Iran ever since primeval times, and evoke indirectly the divide between private intimacy and familiarity on the one hand and the restrictions on freedom in public life imposed by in Iran’s over-regulation on the other. The title for this series of works also links the present with the past. Ave brings into play the mighty Persian ruler Shah Abbas – notorious for his promiscuous life-style – and addresses a further aspect which he had taken up previously in his famous Rostam series of works: namely the area of tension created by the ambivalent concepts of Iranian masculinity. This striking sortie into the country’s history raises awareness of Ave’s view that the above-mentioned discrepancies are to do with the phenomenon of social contradictions deeply anchored in the collective cultural image of how Iran perceives itself.
Shaqayeq Arabi’s assemblages are often composed of simple materials, fundamentally abstract, yet evoking a range of associations. They speak to both the built, urban environment and the natural world by combining the textures of found objects with the rawness of materials. her work examines the different forms and textures of materials, and, through them, the balance between the expressively abstract and the suggestively pictorial. They propose a metamorphosis from the base, synthetic nature of their materials to the ethereal nature of a composition – be it installation or sculpture. These totem-like sculptures embody her interest in exploring how the sum total of an object’s parts can comprise what Ave has referred to as “a larger visionary whole.”
Indeed, both Ave and Arabi work by composing works out of the objects available to them in their surroundings – turning them into a poetic stream of consciousness.