Selected by Mehrdad Afsari
“Once upon a time, it must have been a revolutionary and creative move to interpret works of art. Now it is not… What is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more.”
Mohsen Gallery is delighted to announce “Implicit Signifiers,” a photography exhibition featuring works by three artists: Nima Alizadeh, Vahid Dashtyari, and Alireza Zangiabadi. Selected by Mehrdad Afsari, the show is on view from June 30th to July 19th.
Since the 1960s, artists influenced by conceptual art movement, became concerned with material values of ordinary life, and moved away from seeing the photograph as art. Mistrusting the expressive aesthetic of modernist art, photographers engaged in an art concerned with intellectual enquiry. They made use of photographs as blank, neutral records, which soon shaped a dominant aesthetic in photography, represented by an exhibition called “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape,” held in 1975 in the Eastman House Museum of Photography in New York. It was a turning point in the history of photography, which signaled a departure from traditional depiction of landscape. Pictures of transcendent natural vistas gave way to un-romanticized views of stark industrial landscapes, suburban sprawl, and everyday scenes not usually given a second glance.
“You Were There, Without You Knowing” series by Nima Alizadeh, grapples with what should be there, but is not, and what should not be there, but is still felt, seen, or heard. According to Alizadeh, the concept of the photos stems from the awareness that the absence of anything, be it a person, an action, or an idea, could affect us more acutely than their presence. His work brings together two opposing tendencies in the use of photography by contemporary artists: the documentation of everyday life and the creation of elaborate scenarios for the camera.
Vahid Dashtyadi makes beautiful photos of natural places. However, there is more to them than the bizarre arrangements of light, land, and tress. Dashtyari is trying to document the notion of fear—a notoriously difficult and ephemeral thing to capture in a picture. He likes the idea of trying to see beyond the conventional, chasing the abstract subject of dread that ensues contentment. At the first glance, his photos seem to be quite unremarkable, but there is something more going on, for he is intrigued by the idea of capturing the invisible. He employs photography in order to see what is usually left unseen, making sure that the human element is still there. He is trying to bring back the element of joy to the ordinary things of a landscape photo: things that once were not so hard to notice; keys to simple, joyful moments that always bring fear to our hearts.
Alireza Zangiabadi’s “Others” series explores our relationship to the urban space—physical, cultural, and metaphorical, in generally desolate surroundings; housing complexes, joined in a web of trees, weeds, fences, and abandoned construction machineries. Layers of growth and decay confound the attempts at an easy interpretation. The urban landscape, formed largely by accident and neglect, offers an unconscious synergy in the work of people, plants, and erosion that have shaped these spaces over years. An underlying sensibility exists beneath the surfaces of desolation and trash. His work responds to these impressions, and conveys a sense of mystery, otherness, and escape from the borders of the comfortable and the familiar. “Others” names what we fear but at the same time long for, often with a sense that somewhere, away from the comforts and attachments of our everyday lives, we might somehow find ourselves.
Information for journalists:
Nima Alizadeh (b. 1983, Tehran) received his BA in Photography from Azad University in 2006. He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions, such as “Donadon,” Aaran Gallery, 2015; Moscow Art Fair, 2011; and “Iran’s Contemporary Photography,” Asar Gallery, 2004. Alizadeh was awarded the honorable mention at Tehran’s 9th Photo Biennale.
Vahid Dashtyari (b. 1981) received his MA in Photography from Tehran’s University of Art in 2006. He teaches Lighting and Alternative Procedures. Since 2008, Dashtiari has participated in several group exhibitions.
Alireza Zangiabadi (b. 1984) has done an MA in Mechanical Engineering. He started photography in 2011 at Mehrdad Afsari’s advanced photography courses. He has participated in “Songs of Wind” group exhibition in Mohsen Gallery in 2012, and “Second Hand Photo” group exhibition in Silk Road Gallery in 2015.
 Sontag, Susan, Against Interpretation, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966.