Artist Arya Tabandehpoor explores themes of loss and death through three new photographic series currently on view at Mohsen Gallery. Entitled Skin, Flesh and Bone, respectively, through the medium of photography the artist ponders such subjects by means of various formal symbolism. In some photographs there is a lack of sharp, clear-cut images, while in others, photographs in camouflage seem to gradually appear or subtly fade away – a medium through which the artist explores the notion of loss. Undertones of despair and the finality of human existence are revealed just as much through the subject matter as through the photographic techniques that Tabandehpoor employs.
In Bone, the artist reveals a series of life-size portraits of people merged with pictures of soil as if to foretell their future death. In many ways, these photographs celebrate life through the portrayal of human passing. These works visually define the interconnectedness of the state of life and death – a philosophical concept that continually haunts humanity. Bone also departs from the artist’s previous work that largely consisted of small photographs. In Flesh Tabandehpoor explores the loss that individuals experience on a daily basis – a loss that is often camouflaged by a busy life. Here, he seems to comment on how mankind oft avoids bitter confrontation with the end by maintaining a hectic life. Such ideas are depicted here through pictures encompassing a technique of fading, highlighting notions of ambiguity, existence and the fragility of life. Manifested are memories of people, major life events and friends drifting away due to emigration. Each photograph is a reminder that one’s time is limited.
Lastly, Skin is the deconstruction of the medium of photography by playing with light in order to offer commentary. Similar to British artists Broomberg and Chanarin who incorporated a roll of photographic paper and light on the frontlines of war in Afghanistan in order to criticise conflict photography, Tabandehpoor, who is similarly interested in the portrayal of war, uses a similar technique to express his ideas. Each work in Skin is made via the attachment of enlargers to machines that move the lens back and forth. In doing so, the lens becomes closer and the portrait comes into focus yet with patterns of military camouflage on the subject’s face made by installing such patterns underneath the lens. Each individual in this series thus has a new “skin” – a camouflage that unites us all just like the theme of loss, which will forever permeate human existence.
The exhibition runs until 14 June at Mohsen Gallery located on No. 42, Mina Boulevard in Tehran. For more information, visit www.mohsengallery.com