Focus: Iranian art: Saeed Ensafi solo exhibition at Pi Artworks
03 jul 2015 by art:i:curate team
art:i:curate artist Saeed Ensafi opens his first solo exhibition entitled 'Love, Hate and Edit' in Turkey at Pi Artworks Istanbul.
The word 'war' has different meanings for the different generations of Iranians. It has a dramatic effect on each person; reminding some of a loss, others of heroic stories, and for others war is a part of life. Besides the struggle of civilians against the oppressive regime, the great war between Iran and Iraq during 1980-1988, caused the death of almost a million people as well as spread destruction on a scale that is difficult to recover from. Generations of people, including Ensafi, grew up in the post-war era and have experienced its aftermath as well as the myths and narratives that surround it. The city of Tehran, where the artist has lived and worked for years, is even today full of pictures of the countries martyrs.
The traces left behind by the people who have suddenly left our lives is the key reference point, which Saeed Ensafi's work comes out of. In his solo exhibition titled 'Smile Brother', which took place last year at Homa Art Gallery (Tehran), Ensafi tracked the traces of people who lost their lives during the war. While some of these people become heroes, most of them were forgotten. In his assemblages through the cut- up photographs he found in several family albums, Ensafi focuses on the growing gap that appears after a significant loss. Their faces cut out from the family photos, these people turn into silhouettes without certain identity. The exhibition 'Love, Hate and Edit' is a continuation of this story. On the other hand in this show, the artist's stories become more personal and even familiar.
Ensafi draws attention to the sharp and upsetting effect of facing a cut photograph while looking through a family album. The artist fills the gaps in these albums with several stories. On the other hand, he gives the audience a chance to reflect their own feelings and meaning to these gaps. Ensafi enriches his assemblages that are composed of found photos, with his own drawings, laceworks and many other elements referring to certain cultural traditions.
Living between Tehran and Istanbul for the last three years, Ensafi's works had been previously shown at Tehran Calling London/ London Calling Tehran project at London Print Studios, London (2013); Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin (2012); Dialogue exhibition at University of Chicago (2010) and Andenken Gallery in Denver, USA (2009).
Smile Brother series, 2014, mixed media, 19 cm × 13.5 cm x 1.5 cm, image courtesy of the artist.