Press Release

September 23 to December 16, 2019

September 23 to December 16, 2019

Material, Text and Agency

Hamid Severi

Mojtaba Amini, Nasser Bakhshi, Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar
Majid Biglari, Jinoos Taghizadeh, Neda Razavipour
Baktash Sarang Javanbakht, Behrang Samadzadegan, Barbad Golshiri, Amir Mobed, Mahmoud Mahroumi

Opening: September 23, 2019
Visiting Hours: 4 – 8 pm
Visiting Days: Sep 24 to Dec 16, 2019
Visiting Hours: Sun – Thurs, 4 – 8 pm

In the past two decades, factors such as the pervasiveness of the digital arena, the ever-increasing complication of theories, the exaggerated obscuring of the language of thought and the distancing of actual tangible experiences, have led to a rise in theories. Theories such as new materialism, spiritual materialism and object oriented ontology are large portions of these approaches emphasize the material and the object that have lessened the role of language, the human agency and humanism. The result for the visual arts is the circulation of countless artworks with the main idea being audience experience. In order to stimulate the experience, monumental scales, object centered work and the utilization of uncommon and special materials give the audience a tangible feeling, nostalgia, associative, ruin, lust and etc. These are all used to leave the observer drowning in this powerful spectacle, leaving them speechless and numb so that their ability to withstand its ability to reflect and act is suppressed.

The works in this exhibition, chosen from the Malek Foundation collection do not follow this direction. Neither do they associate with a contemporary sublime, nor do they impose the numbing of monumentalism.

Most of the works are objective and are object and less image. Even though the used materials play a decisive role, the language (text and speech) has not been marginalized. Some of them contain unique materials and unique text and more importantly despite the stimulating the emotion do not remain on this level despite the arousal of feelings and sentiment. Firstly, the essence of these emotions ate not private, romantic and envying past nostalgia.. Secondly, the severity of the bitterness and darkness is not on a level to numb the audience and suppress their agencies

Enumerating the examples of the elements and materials utilized in these works would be helpful. There are plastic black flowers, human breath, a metal coffin in a grave of dry cracked earth, lambskins, camel saddles, rusted iron, driftwood, reins, leather handles, metal hooks, thread, rope, weathered plastic, tarps, black iron, cement, tar, broken antique ceramic and crystal urns, raw petroleum, meat grinder, pacifiers, old office folders stuck together and suspended. The accompanying texts are neither decorative or plays on words nor are they neutral or inactive. To comprehend and to fathom the purpose of their expression in the here and now, one must resort to contemplation. These few examples are helpful:

The Master of Death and the Son of Destruction (They give birth for death to exist, and they create in order to destroy)

If small fish are born into a small pond

Whales should fight to the sea beyond

It will not be fought

It will commit suicide

V B B Z – R D N H – Y M V A Y – …

(These letters are used to confuse and do not spell anything.)

H55/1    D9/70

The ordering of these numbers and letters are changing a breath into a symbol of confusion similar to those found in official archives)

With such materials and texts, the impact of these works are certainly not meant to arouse sentiment or private feelings of romanticism that are passively soothing and inebriating, nor are they an invitation to action, displaying green gardens and utopia or cliché protests which are marketable. The main issues can be enumerated as the following: paying attention to the complexity of the situation, to the endeavors and questioning the endeavors arising from them, failure and the deformation of utopias, memorials to the demise of the excluded, making documents durable while at the same time disorienting them to remain complicated and confusing, defying the culture of defiance, redefining success and failure, struggling to regain a temporary balance during our current constant instability, metaphors for the present tragic and sometimes comic conditions in a form of an object…

Despite all the bitterness and associations with catastrophe in the works, such as the paradox of pleasure and pain in tragedy, danger and negative pain in sublime affairs, there exists a pleasure in experiencing the artwork: the creativity, sensitivity, daring and endeavoring of the artist, who brings to life sparks of hope at the moment of utter hopelessness. Effort becomes paramount and importance is given to the redefining of failure and success. Perhaps we can accompany these works of art with a quote from Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, (he said it about the Greeks, and we pass it on to our own people), “How much has this nation suffered to have reached such beauty?”

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