In order to represent the photographic works of its artists, Mohsen Gallery has always had an Avant-guard and unconventional approach. In its third participation, Sasan Abri, Arya Tabandehpoor, and Mehrdad Afsari are the gallery’s represented artists for PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai 2019.
Each one of these photographers has his unique way of dealing with the notion of photography and the medium. Sasan Abri looks at photographic and printing processes as an austere ritual to keep a memory safe from the danger of the routine. Arya Tabandehpoor, weaves the visible and the veiled to represent a glimpse into the future of his subject matters. And Mehrdad Afsari, a seasoned photographer, travels to mountains, traverses the plains, and takes the winding roads, and makes journeys to the legacy of his ancestors, searching for the halo, spirit, and memories lost in the Machine/Digital Age so as to take back the ritualistic function of art that now has assumed a mere representational value.
In his “Sundays” series (2018), Sasan Abri has made use of his signature watercolor-like photographic printing technique, in which flowers tell the story of mortality of humankind and the immortality of memories. Buying flowers on Sundays that used to be a weekly habit for the artist together with someone who is no longer there, has now become a ritual to retain their shared memories. With the passionate, impressionistic flowers, the photographs of “Sundays” series have a painterly and unruly quality. The juxtaposition of the dark background with the warm and cold colors of the foreground allude to the contradictions and finite characteristics of the flow of life. As each Sunday ends, another Sunday will come to take its place.
Arya Tabandehpoor usually considers the human body and nature as primary and secondary contexts for life, respectively, in terms of their fragile forms: transient, imperfect, on the wane, with the gradual aging of the organs as the bodily functions start to fade, while the shadow of inevitable death looms large. In the “Bones” series (2017), Tabandehpoor deals with the notions of decay, inability, frailty, and the loss of bodily functions, with implicit references to the notion of “coexistence.” The woven photographs are neither seeking to reproduce “something beautiful” nor are they even trying to reject it; this body is nothing but a beautiful yet decaying nature.
In the Digital Age, a work of art is always reproducible. However, what is lost in the process is the spirit of time and place concealed in the artwork. As photographer of imaginary elements and the lost souls of objects, Mehrdad Afsari returns to the rich, ancient legacy of Shahnameh of Shah Tahmaseb to represent a digital and pixelated interpretation of its images in his “Shahnameh” series (2008).
Mehrdad Afsari will also exhibit his “Polaroids” series (2019) in the photo fair. Polaroid photographs are essentially a tribute to the preciousness of the moment and also a reminder of its transience. Mehrdad Afsari’s “Polaroids” are pure and unrepeatable sequences of moments in nature: in order to capture them, one needs to wait for the right moment and there is not much room for making mistakes. The particular presentation, pale colors, the insignificance of the details, and a sense of longing are among the characteristics of this series.