A Disappointing Idea to Build a Roof on a Lit Candle

Mahmoud Mahroumi
July 06  —  July 27, 2018

A white space that does not signify a particular place. Candles whose lives have come to an end. The moment of the candle burning down is contrasted with the simulation of a candle in 80 slide frames, which is a report that testifies to the fact that the candle was once alive. The slide machine makes a regular rhythm. Everything seems to be expired. It is as if something has happened and we have arrived too late. Material is unstable and mutable, and the significance of time is concealed in the context of the artwork. Here, light is captured by shadows. While the ideological system wants us to believe that there is one reality and one system of evaluation, the artist sees the reality as diverse and fragmented, not as a singular matter.


Mahmoud Mahroumi is a sculpture and contemporary narrator. He breathes energy into the artworks to sustain and proliferate them. Candle, concrete, metal, the warmth of breath, and energy in general, make up the installations of Mahroumi. In most of these works, socio-political concerns are encapsulated or quarantined in symbolic forms. Energy is sometimes buried and sometimes changed from one form to another.


In the “The Correct Way of Molding” installation (2011), there are signs of life, as suggested by the birdcage. However, life has been destroyed by an earlier assault. Here, too, we have arrived too late: something has already happened. “Sigh” (2012) is like a funeral for a forgotten memory. Not merely a report of being there too late, but an attempt to preserve and immortalize memory. The artist is like a medium for energy: he takes one form of energy and turns it to another.


Similar to other works, “A Desperate Idea to Build a Roof on a Lit Candle” is seeking to find satisfying answers to a situation: the thing that has come to pass, the traces of which can only be found as mere documents. Even ideology is not deadly anymore. This is the mortal relation between the artist, the ideas, and the materials.


Even though socio-political stimuli are internal and happen within the context of the artist’s life, his solutions, which incorporate ancient techniques of ecstasy by capturing and quarantining energy, are universal remedies. He utilizes awareness in a biological form, which is defaced and trampled. He makes use of symbolic, metaphorical, and visual systems to construct a series of works that make references to itself, others, the mind, and the nature, in order to heal in the context of a manipulated nature and a meddling society. Living and working with hard and soft materials over the course of 17 years has taught him the art of healing.


Similar to collective rituals, Mahroumi’s works manipulate emotions and strengthen identities and communal commitments, using psycho-sociological processes based on a form of therapy that is based on material. Perhaps he considers the root of all disease to be the loss or damage of the soul. What he seems to be offering as the cure is to conjure and evoke suppressed memories: “There is a sun concealed in each particle.”