When the Mountains Shall Be Set in Motion

Oct. 18, 2016

Mehdi Abdolkarimi at Mohsen Gallery’s Pasio

21 October 2016


Mohsen Gallery is delighted to announce “When the Mountains Shall Be Set in Motion”, an exhibition by Mehdi Abdolkarimi as the next artist commissioned for Pasio, our 9m x 7m gallery courtyard exhibition space dedicated to newly realized art installations.

Abdolkarimi has for several years, explored and expanded traditional approaches to the photographic medium by experimenting with its formal content and presentations. His work is inspired by a surrealist tradition, namely the work of Eugène Atget who avoided bringing unnecessary additions into the landscape he was depicting and promoted capturing directly what was present. There is no staging involved and nature is captured in its most magical and pure form.

In the last five years, Abdolkarimi began questioning the formal aspects of presenting his photographs and began thinking about expanded definitions for photography leading to miniaturization and blowing up of images, alongside exploring it in sculptural form and presented on the floor. In this way, the image engages even more with the architecture of the gallery space, as well as encounters with the audience within space.


In his third solo exhibition at Mohsen Gallery, Among Highways, this experimental proactive was most prominent as through topographical photography captured through a subjective geography, Abdolkarimi experimented with the formal aspects of the photograph by presenting large scale format images as floor based sculptural images. The audience had to gaze downwards, walk around and contemplate with these works depicting outstanding nature as floor-based. In a sense, the gigantic is miniaturized and more on a human-scale level of encounter. This series is a continuation of the artist’s ongoing interest in human and the nature manipulated by the mankind. its landscape and society in general is an unnatural phenomenon that is constantly in conflict with its own nature as its formation of society as one that is unnatural since it is destructive nature.


For his Pasio commission, Abdolkarimi looks closely at the meaning and metaphors of mountains in Iranian history, one that is evident in religion, politics, iterature, folklore and mythologies. The mountain becomes symbolic with conquest, it is the symbol of strength and also one that has historically been used to set borders. He considers the historical, social and political symbolism Mount Damāvand which is the highest peak in Iran and the Middle East, as well highest volcano in Asia.

This new installation will present a contemporary take on the reference to this important historical and imagistic reference for Iranian culture providing new interpretations as the image of Damāvand and the concept of the unbreakable is transposed to gallery space, scaled and fragmented and will also feature an interactive and participatory element for visitors of the installation. In doing so, the artist explores the relationship between tectonic and photography, architecture and art, monumentality and domesticity.


Abdolkarimi’s ambitious new installation presents another perspective on history, another way to read the familiar, a way to minimise large and huge concepts through a humanistic engagement with topographic encounters. Pasio’s space is an appropriate context for exhibition Abdolkarimi’s photograph’s exploring topography of Iran’s landscape as the space allows for connecting earth and sky, outside and inside.



About Pasio

Alongside Mohsen’s exhibition, talks, events and educational programme, Pasio is monthly artist commission series initiated by the gallery to support the work of promising artists. The space Pasio, translates to ‘Patio’ is a courtyard  at the heart of the gallery with an area of 7m2 and height of 9m with a skylight opening connecting the inside with skyscape outside. This space allows for experimentation due to the size, whilst allowing for a closer engagement with newly commissioned works by artists, further contributing to Mohsen’s commitment to supporting artists’ practices.