For its third participation in Art Dubai, Mohsen Gallery represents works by Majid Biglari and Amir-Hossein Zanjani’s recent series. Despite their apparent differences, the two artists’ approaches are tied to the common concepts and preoccupations that the contemporary Middle Eastern human has to face on a daily basis. By reconstructing personal and public spaces in an experimental context, Majid assesses the possibility of presence in each place, while Amir-Hossein reinterprets a watershed point in the history of humanity with a critical look and in accordance with the current situation in the world.
In his “Soot, Fog, Soil” series, Majid Biglari first deals with objects and spaces that originate from the most personal issues and individual concerns. By hiding some of the clues and provoking the audience’s sense of curiosity, he lets them put themselves in those personal, internal places. Moreover, Majid recreates spaces that, while being public, offers personal interpretation accompanied with sorrow. It is as if with the space being public, the perception of it should be clearer, but by removing the details of each structure and diminishing the experience of presence in these places, e.g., furnaces, factories, camps, and watchtowers, it is up to the audience to fill the blanks. Considering the nature and history of these types of spaces, the mind of the audience is drawn to a dark and harsh place. With its simple colors and forms, Majid’s series is like monuments that remind us of the violence and boredom that is carved in our collective memory.
A soldier who is taking proud steps in the euphoric post-victory moments, seems to be oblivious to his imminent ominous future: it is akin to the feeling of emptiness after achieving a significant goal, or to someone who has decided to emigrate but does not know where. In his new series, Amir-Hossein represents the condition of the contemporary man by reinterpreting artworks from the Romantic era, assuming a critical approach towards modern militarism. With their inherent destructive character, the contemporary humans have now conquered the nature that once embraced them. Consequently, they have lost the nature itself. With a spear in their hand and under heavy layers of an iron armor, they have become devoid of their sense of self.
The essence of the Majid and Amir-Hossein’s works is an experience unaccomplished. Human being is void of real experience, which is in turn emptied of all meanings. In an ironic situation, when they have not even been given the opportunity to fight, they are forced to leave the arena, only to find themselves in an unknown and strange future. The artists of this show who are from the same generation seem to return to their childish playful fantasies in order to take refuge in a delusional ecstasy intentionally; the place where is free of dread and ominousness of their nightmares as well as the anxiety and grief of their broken dreams.