“XABT” is a comprehensive solo exhibition of sculptures, paintings, mixed media, and large-scale installations by Mojtaba Amini, in which he has drawn on everyday violence entwined with his personal life, sociopolitical, and cultural histories of Iran. Amini’s works often present violence in a contemplative fashion.
His explorations into material and form lead him towards making use of animal glue, sheepskin, camel fat, and soap in his works, delving into form and content through such natural materials and their subsequent transformations. Serving as symbolic representations of the remnants of violence, his works remind us of the common use of the skin of an animal that has changed into a bota bag, its fat that has turned into soap, and its bone that has now become glue.
Death is a recurring theme in Amini’s works. In the series “Majâ’a,” large clay vessels are engraved with Arabic words and when being read by the viewers, it conveys a more profound meaning compared to what might be initially perceived. The series represents the loss of life and livelihood at the time of drought, when bareness of land is poignantly represented by these empty vessels.
The exhibition takes as its entry point the Arabic word “Xabt,” which translates to violence and the disorientation that comes as an aftermath of this, posing the question of how meaning is inscribed on objects. The word is also significant, as one of the works from Amini’s series “Xabt-e Ašwâ” means a camel that cannot see and would trample on anything, resembling people without insight. From a critical perspective, his works propose a new visual language in order to produce new concepts.
Amini continues to be driven by the impetus to reveal how language transforms the meaning of form, and how nothing we encounter is free from a politics of space, place, and historical meanings.