Mohsen Projects was defined in 2015 as a flexible platform for displaying installation- and performance-based artworks in three often unused spaces of the Mohsen Gallery building, namely its roof, patio, and front courtyard: Bam, Pasio, and Hayat. Held in parallel with the regular shows in the gallery, it is a unique experience for the artists and the audiences of Tehran’s contemporary art scene. Mohsen Projects’ annual open call is an opportunity for young Iranian artists to compete, experiment, and develop their potentials.
The jury selected three projects after considering the proposals of the second open call for the Mohsen Projects. In these projects, the artists have adopted three different approaches in terms of concept and execution: “Hideout” is a process-based, suspended garden, independent from the concept of courtyard (Hayat), by Pooneh Oshidari; “Dystopia” by Shana Abdollahian and Ehsan Alizadeh, makes Pasio a temporary habitat for a species of fungi; and “Parallelism or Intersection?” is a structure created by Sanahin Babajanians on Bam to reflect the differences and similarities of two cultures.
“Hideout” is a project by Pooneh Oshidari, painter and illustrator, from her “Amnesia” series, in which she suspends life in the front courtyard of Mohsen Gallery, Hayat. “Hideout” offers a forward-looking, process-driven experience by highlighting the contrast between the static quality of the media and the dynamics of life-carrying seeds, in which one ultimately overwhelms the other. This installation is about the entanglement, amassments, scattering, and multiplication of elements whose cumulative nature blankets and occupies the host environment. Independent from the architecture of the courtyard, this hanging garden gradually grows its roots over the portrait of the artist until it is completely covered and appropriated by the end of the exhibition. Time is what carries the “Hideout” forward and what ultimately completes it.
Utopia is ideological and, in turn, dystopia pays the price for the lost ideal. A collaborative work by Shana Abdollahian and Ehsan Alizadeh, “Dystopia” is a metaphoric journey from a utopian starting point to a dystopian destination. Consisting of numerous Lingzhi Mushroom, the work represents an engaging image from the past, the present, and the future of prosperity, consumption, progress, technology, and destruction, mesmerizing the audience by the interconnection between these notions. Although the creatures of this temporary habitat depend and feed on the host, they have been depicted as independent and they follow a specific order. “Dystopia” is both a playground and a context in which things are displayed. Suspended between utopia and dystopia, the space is comprised of two parts: the presence of the fungi in the host environment, and the cone-shaped structure of a dome. Shana Abdollahian is studying painting and Ehsan Alizadeh is studying architecture.
“Parallelism or Intersection?” is a project by the Iranian-Armenian painter Sanahin Babajanians that she has developed for Bam. Inspired by Iranian-Islamic and Armenian-Christian architecture, the structure is based on the notions of “dualism” and “pluralism.” On the hexagonal base of the structure, which has a cone-shaped dome, ornamental shapes are repeated with a regular rhythm to represent two cultures and two religions. In this project, Babajanians, who has a BFA in Painting, goes beyond the two-dimensional boundaries of the canvas, making use of the third dimension in a proportion bigger than the viewing angle to make the concept more tangible.