Ali & Ramyar
June 08-27, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday June 08, 2018, 5:00 to 10:00 pm
Mohsen Galley is pleased to announce the exhibition by Ali&Ramyar entitled “Demo.” The exhibition runs from Friday June 8 to 27 2018.
Critical aesthetics is the result of the intensity of an era. Polities (not politics) and aesthetics are interwoven, for both have something to do with how the tangible is distributed. They both reveal the invisible. And therein lies the subtlety: they should not be reduced to one another, but they should expose each other, because, according to Rancière, they are, in a sense, one and the same.
Critical aesthetics in photography has been the main question that Ramyar Manouchehrzadeh and Ali Nadjian have been considering in their recent works. They are concerned with the concrete Iranian subject, particularly when it has questioned its sociopolitical life: the world it is breathing in, sick and tired of its stale air.
Their present project, “Demo,” consists of sixteen images of different generations in the tumultuous years of Iranian contemporary history. It is about all the people who have become one huge mass based on their demands and mutual problems: to restore what they believe is their inherent rights, they have challenged the status quo. In these works, they have made use of the techniques of staged photography and combined them with documentary photography. In the background, parts of images of public gatherings are chosen with no presuppositions and regardless of their ideological orientations. Using double exposure in the foreground causes the tensions and the ongoing passions and hopes to intermix.
The regrets and hopes of the past are reflected in our present. Shedding light on the negatives is an attempt at reviving a hope that is buried under a pile of unfulfilled desires. The subtraction of ideologies from the photographs adds to our meditations on the concept of “people.” Who are people anyway? In his brilliant comment on Paul Klee’s famous painting, Gilles Deleuze writes, “The people are missing. People are invented.”
In a state of capital domination, people become alien to each other, and speak only the language of money. The visual methods of representing the masses can be questioned.
In their earlier projects, Ramyar Manouchehrzadeh and Ali Nadjian had pondered the question of Iranian society and individuality: the uniqueness, unity, individuation, and collectivism that began with Constitutional Revolution, which passed through the events of Islamic Revolution, and continues to this day. Contrary to spiritualist discourses in photography that emphasizes the elimination of camera’s interference and photographic techniques, they know so well that modern photography is the result of the internalization of the paradoxes of industry and culture, and the omission of one in favor of the other results in mere artistic delight, which is, to some extent, what postmodern art ended up with, especially in the underdeveloped world. The “Demo” project is not trying to go back to the past. It wants, rather, to illuminate future hopes.