Farshid Larimian’s practice centers on the idea of narrative, examining the layered significance of objects from everyday life presenting the sort of romantic visions associated with the modern rather than the postmodern age. Larimian recuperates nostalgia as a humanist attitude toward life that stresses the personal and emotional. His works re In the current show, Larimian spoke with immigrants and refugees forced to move from countries like Syria and Afghanistan to Europe about the few possessions they brought with them. Learning the stories behind these objects, the artist obtained permission to present some of the refugees’ most significant personal items in the series Pocket Memories (2016). Each object appears alongside its representation in the form of a sketch by the artist. Arranged on the wall and in a vitrine in a manner reminiscent of the crowded hanging of family photographs in the nineteenth-century Middle East and living rooms, the objects retain their sense of intimacy, and the viewer must thus recognize his privilege at being admitted into this private space. Personal and political histories intertwine in a display that it at once melancholic and hopeful, remnants of the lives that had to be left behind and a celebration of the individuals who survived.
In his other installation, Larimian shares a bit of his own personal history with the viewer. The floor plan of his late grandfather’s house is mapped onto the gallery floor, while objects like Larimian’s grandfather’s masonry work tools and old papers, scrawled with financial accounts, hang on the walls. Since Larimian’s childhood in Babol, the family home has been destroyed and replaced with a high-rise. The artwork functions as an homage to a man and home that no longer exist, tracing a story of Iranian modernization in which a great deal of Iran’s physical and cultural landscape was destroyed to make room for a Western-influenced aesthetic. Rather than mourning these changes, however, the artist seems interested in mining their memory, asking us to consider the complex histories of the spaces we occupy.
Indeed, at a time when many artists have moved to postmodernism and its successors, his practice daringly situates itself within a modern milieu. Modern technologies like the abacus and magazine are referenced or incorporated through collage. The works suggest an iconography whereby an investment in materiality is maintained alongside a “dematerialization” (Hashemi
2015) that renders the image or object a sign, either as a memory or idea. As sort of anthropology, his practice shares individual stories with us, humanizing a world where people are frequently represented only as data and affectionately baring the vulnerability of human life.
Farshid Larimian (b.1983, Babol, Iran; also Farshido) has an engineering background and lives and works in Austria. He is currently pursuing a doctorate while also working as a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Larimian has exhibited widely in the Middle East and Europe.
Most recently, his works have appeared in Von hier. Und dort, Fronfeste Museum, Austria (2016); the third Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Russia (2012); Wem die Stunde schlägt, LA Documentation Centre for Modern Art St., Pölten, Austria (2011). His artwork has been collected by MOCA Krakow, Poland; Fronfeste Museum, Austria; Salsali Private Museum, Dubai; and I’Atelier Camelia, UAE. In 2014 his design was competitively selected for the new trophy of the Wiener Mut Award in Austria.