In “Allusive Moment,” a group show centered on nostalgia, a slow creaking sound fills the gallery and precedes—even preempts—visual encounters with works in the show. The creaking sounds like it might come from the wood beams or floorboards of a childhood home, except it is rhythmic, as if from the hull of a ship straining in an ocean swell, imparting the idea of a journey.
The creaking is part of Farhad Kalantry’s video installation, Places (2015), which is made with a single shot down a long corridor of shifting wood-floored rooms. Places imbues “Allusive Moment” with something more than the traditional themes of nostalgia. While this group show draws on the capacity of common objects to hold memory, and balances the weight of the past with the intimacy of the moment, it also—because nostalgia is also subject to the mind’s tendency to distort—drifts into the surreal.
Similarly, Keyvan Mahjoor’s ink drawings of somber but dreamlike scenes play like a threnody, with the weight of their shadowy figures and the levity and rhythm of swirling calligraphy.
While some pieces in “Allusive Moment” conjure reverie, others create a sense of immediacy or enshrine the hardened exactness of a moment. Shiva Aliabadi’s “Safety of Objects” series, for example, resembles Louise Nevelson’s monochromatic, tightly arranged compositions of household objects, except there is a suddenness to them, a disarray or vague sense of panic, that has been vacuum-sealed and preserved.
Farshid Larimian’s Coins (2016) also records instantaneous moments, but through the act of rubbing a coin’s image onto paper. Coins carry known and unknown history: their low-relief images commemorate significant figures or events of a culture, but they travel through the day-to-day, hand-to-hand moments, dulling over time, but storing experience by virtue of their durability. The three compositions of Coins are cleverly hung lower on the wall. The viewer has to crouch to examine them, as if its contents were kept in a drawer along with other old items. Like the low entrance of an old temple might force its visitor to bow down, Coins demands another action: an emulation of rummaging, and reminiscing.
Farhad Kalantary, Shiva Aliabadi, Keyvan Mahjoor, Farshid Larimian, Shirin Attar, Samira Hodaei, and Afsoon, “Allusive Moment,” June 18 to July 23, 2016, at MIM Gallery, 2636 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90034, mim.gallery