For its fifth participation in the Contemporary Istanbul, Mohsen Gallery presents the account of an encounter between two generations: one has been active since a decade ago, featured in the gallery’s first appearance in Contemporary Istanbul (2011), and a younger generation that now appears with them a decade later (2021). Despite their different approaches, experiences, and attitudes, however, both generations have come to the same conclusion: accepting the vicious circle in the strenuous path they have taken to achieve utopias, while in reality, what they have gained is nothing but dystopia; falling from the world of ideals and aspirations to the depths of a tedious reality from which it is impossible to escape. The seven artists of this booth, Amirhossein Bayani, Zahra Ghyasi, Milad Jahangiri, Hosein Mohammadi, Mahsa Nouri, Behrang Samadzadegan, and Amir-Hossein Zanjani, are all in an endless loop in a hopeless era, striving to achieve a state of stability.
The artists of the show paint in the same isolation that the world went through, albeit collectively, during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this acceptance and transience, it seems to be the only way to make it through the miseries of life and endure the uninhabitable earth; a seclusion in which, with the loss of unity and collective identity, it seems impossible to salvage individual identity. That is why, for the first time in his fifteen-year practice, which focuses on the study of politics and its role in daily life, Amirhossein Bayani allows human figures to leave his frames so that he can continue his work with a more abstract and personal approach, while adhering to his usual procedure. In the work of Amir-Hossein Zanjani, who seeks to explore militarism in the contemporary world, the further we go, the more intertwined the figures will get in order to form a mass of non-faces that, while avoiding non-conformity, do not make an effort to march together; just like demonstrations that take place in the virtual space by sharing a hashtag instead of rallying on the streets. The contradiction between the destruction of individuality in the absence of others in this isolation leads to euphoric insanity: Mahsa Nouri takes refuge in an intoxicating dream with her vibrant colors to cleanse herself from the filth of the times. On the other hand, Zahra Ghyasi, feeling jaded of all collective activism, builds a hallucinatory, erotic world on another planet in order to joyfully fly her feminine rebellious spirit to absolute freedom. With his constant critique of consumerism and construction of hollow fetishes in the era of social media domination, Milad Jahangiri mocks manufactured gods as if they are supposed to show the way for humanity to get rid of this mire. Meanwhile, Hosein Mohammadi seeks help from the ancient myths of his country, trying to find a hero in legends. And, with his collage of political micro-narratives of contemporary history and the depiction of the promised utopia of political revolutions and its obvious difference with reality, Behrang Samadzadegan turns his colorful palette into a satire on the impossibility of realizing that utopia.
For the selection of works presented for the curatorial of the show, pieces from the most recent series of each artist have been specifically picked, the juxtaposition of which emphasizes the repetitious, futile struggle of these two consecutive generations; where a deceptive, rich abstraction replaces impossible aspirations, as high hopes get lost in the onslaught of the perpetual bitterness of real experiences.