Davood Bayat

Davood Bayat was born in 1983 in Tehran and has a BA in graphic design. He has held one solo exhibition in 2015 titled “Red Carpet,” and has partaken in a number of group exhibitions in Azad Art Gallery as well as the Saba Institute in the Iranian Academy of Arts.

“The Age of Ecosystem; Can Life be Outside of It?”

Remember Goethe’s Faust, a famous and respected scholar, but a hermit, dissatisfied with life, who made a pact with the devil* to obtain indescribable power and knowledge. The devil accepts to assist him in achieving his infinite dreams and desires, which seem to be beyond money, sexual pleasure, honor, and glory: he demands all the sources of creativity. In return, Faust agrees to surrender his soul willingly, in the very moment he feels like stopping. In All That Is Solid Melts into Air, Marshal Berman writes, “Before we can fathom the tragedy that lies at the story’s end, we must grasp a basic irony that infuses this story from its start: in the course of the working with and through the devil, Faust develops into a genuinely better man. The devil appears to Faust just when Faust feels closest to God.” After this agreement with the devil, Faust acquires a power that does nothing but evil, and despite all this—in a mysterious way—it creates goodness. Just as God’s will and act is destructive at a cosmic level, diabolic lust for destruction and ruin eventually plays a creative role. It is through working with the devil, and demanding nothing but evil, that he can finish his task beside God and even create goodness. “The path to paradise begins in hell.” Faust was passionate for acquiring creative power, but he had to face destructive and ruinous forces. In this dialectic of destruction and development, which is somehow the spirit of modernism, nothing will be created unless everything that existed before is destroyed. In other words, the most horrible aspects of development come from the holiest and noblest goals of development.
What is a chimney? The obvious definition is “a part of the building through which smoke rises into the outside air.” Which is of course something good, for it takes away pollutions from our houses. Nevertheless, it has become the symbol of pollution is a larger scale—behind this intention, there has crept a greater evil. The whole dialectic of modernity’s destruction and development can be summarized in the concept of chimney: a tubular object that connects the inside to the outside. But in a state of disaster, what difference is there between an inner and an outer space? Where is outside? The uttermost space is connected to the innermost space. The border between the two is obliterated and thus one cannot easily say, “Anywhere outside this world.” This never-ending desire for progress is the essence for Goethe’s story, and in a larger scale, the modernity itself. For the modern man, the only way to transform was the transformation of the whole world. But this transformation demanded a great price from the subject. As Norman Mailer wrote in the ‘70’s, “We are a Faustian age, determined to meet the Lord or the devil before we are done.”**

“But silence in dark caves a stiller humanity bleeds,
Out of hard metals molds the redeeming head.”
—from “To the Silenced” by Georg Trakl

*) In fact to Mephistopheles, the demon in the Faust legend
**) Part of the article “The Age of Ecosystem; Can Life be Outside of It?” by Davood Bayat, August 2016

Davood Bayat, “The Grand Inquisitor, an Essay on Justification of Evil”, from “Pollution” series, copper plate, metal net, LED lights, 70 x 99 x 99 cm, approximate weight: 60 kg, 2016