Focus Iran 2 – Contemporary Photography and Video
Sometimes a powerful image is enough – not simply to focus and arrest attention, but to shift the narrative, move the world, or certainly the viewer’s perspective on it. A great image can re-make that world or deliver an entirely new one. The watch word at this moment is resistance – and that spirit envelops each of the images in this compact, beautifully curated show. The focus, as the title announces, is post-revolutionary, post-invasion/occupation Iran; but its true scope is both larger and more specific. There are many ‘Irans’ or ‘Persias’ here – not only as represented by the artists here, but as a viewer senses cumulatively through the show, as many as there are eyeballs. Each image is a world – variously crowded, even cluttered with information and detail; or spare and solitary, concise or quasi-symbolic (even quasi-conceptual) – but all containing multitudes with clear intent to communicate a complex and contradictory, open-ended view. The artistry and ambition can be almost breath-taking. A river, the Z yuandé-R d, literally ‘runs through’ Asieh Dehghani’s brilliant video series, Anahita the Eros of Community (as much a work of architecture and assemblage as film or video), transecting landscape, culture, and geo-political history. The ‘collage’ or ‘assemblage’ can resemble something as self-contained as a Cornell (or ‘Cage-an’) box, as Parisa Ghaderi’s digital photograph does, which even in its silence telegraphs a kind of memoir. Hasan Ghafari’s own digital photograph, Spring, opens a slightly more expansive, and colorfully textured rendition of such a narrative. Symbolic aspects are powerfully asserted throughout the show in the work of such disparate artists as the almost painterly Ali Kheradyar, to the performative (e.g., False Roots) Sanaz Khosravi, to the corporeal yet entirely abstracted video work of Emelie Mahdavian. Masoud Mohammadi draws from the same well as graphic memoirist, Marjane Satrapi, but no less poignantly. But I risk slighting the other outstanding work throughout this 42 artist show – all of which hold and sharpen our focus.
Craft & Folk Art Museum
5814 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Show runs thru May 7, 2017