Visitors to the exhibition Exposed, opening today at Tehran’s Mohsen Gallery, will find themselves probing the city’s sprawling landscape through the lens of Iranian photographer Sasan Abri. This solo show features the 34-year-old artist’s latest series where he explores the technique of Polaroid photography, one he often uses, to create a collage of 20 images that he transferred to glass. He also utilises the paint thinner image transfer method on paper for the works he created over the past three years.
Sasan Abri. Exposed series. 2015-2018. Image transferred on paper, Unique edition. 100x70cm
Abri’s artworks depict interference in the process of creating and presenting artworks about cityscapes. He brings forth a compelling mix of digital photographs capturing tall buildings that dot Tehran’s skyline, and the show thus oscillates between sombre and playful representations of the city.
For the first part of the exhibition, Abri’s photographs capture a sweeping view of Tehran from a rectilinear perspective. With the sky as an integral part of the composition, he creates a soft and painterly image of the city’s ever-growing skyline with no single point of focus.
The imagery is connotative, and Abri frequently portrays a construction cane lying amidst the tall buildings, an evident reference to the constant growth the metropolis is undergoing. He mirror-printed these images and reassembled them onto a large sheet of cardboard in an orderly and repetitive way, piecing them together like a puzzle.
Sasan Abri. Exposed series. 2015-2018. Mixed media, Polaroid photography. A collage of 20 images, all transferred to glass. 34x45cm
The second part featuring Polaroid photographs comprises darker red tones and the common scenario of any metropolis, including iron structures, some of which have been abandoned for decades. This set of work is deeply nostalgic, as is the use of a Polaroid camera, mounted on metal frames and cardboards from worn-out suitcases. He disassembled these images and put them back together, transferring them onto glass.
Urban life has been a recurrent theme in Abri’s works, which include The Dormant Yellow (2013) and Conjunctivitis (2012) series. In the former, he used an analogue camera to depict well-known brick buildings in Tehran that have long been abandoned, casting light on the damaging effects of urbanisation on the historical and cultural landmarks of the city. With his new series, Abri ‘exposes’ the world to his own astute interpretation of his hometown and its growingly urban way of life.
Exposed runs till 2 March at Mohsen Gallery, Tehran. Mohsen.gallery.com