In his latest show that recently opened at Mohsen Gallery, Iranian photographer Mehrdad Afsari casts light on the often overlooked scenes and beauty of nature. On view are spectacular landscape photographs that depict nature in its most pristine, mystic form. The exhibition features photographs that are a continuation of Afsari’s previous works spanning the past two years. ‘40’ in the exhibition title references how the artist has finally, after crossing that age, found himself to be at peace with nature. It is this sense of emancipation that he translates through this set of works.
Inspired by 20th-century Middle and Far Eastern paintings, Afsari excludes all human subjects and their impact on landscapes in his works. This is to maintain focus on the inherent, unadulterated beauty of these settings. Afsari travels across Iran in search of vistas, skilfully capturing and enhancing the panoramic beauty of landscapes that may otherwise go unnoticed.
A vivid example of Mehrdad Afsari's work on display at Mohsen Gallery
According to his exquisite use of analog photography, he allows himself and his viewers to examine both implicit and explicit meanings in his works. Afsari’s work can be described as a shift from conventional photography in favour of a deeper, Illuminationist (or Ishraqi) philosophy, developed by 12th-century Persian philosopher Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi, which suggests that light forms the basis of all things material and immaterial. Thus, his works attempt to bring to light all that is seemingly unreachable.
Also at the core of his practice is the idea behind how nature ends after a certain horizon, which, again, references the parallel between natural landscapes and the transience of life, and a focus on balance, beauty and mystery. Through his photographs, he hopes to reignite true appreciation of nature and reverse the effects of regional and environmental crises on the relationship between humans and nature.
‘40: A Treatise On Terrene Traverse’ runs until 1 June at Mohsen Gallery in Tehran, Iran.