Following the last issue of Selections, Frequently Asked Questions in Art, we continue our quest to analyse what surrounds us in the art world. However, this time, for our 21 Artists and a Biennial issue, we take you backstage to expose you to the world of research in the 21st century. Because the most important part of our work is research, we analyse both the material we receive and what we find, basing ourselves on today’s most common search tools: online search engines, online encyclopaedia, social media, carefully written press releases, email exchanges with the artist’s gallery and the artist him/herself. After laying down the information we’ve gathered onto our pages, we invite you to make your own analysis.
b. 1967 Tehran,
1996: BA, Painting, Azad University, Art
and Architecture School, Tehran, Iran
1998: MA, Painting, Azad University, Art
and Architecture School, Tehran, Iran
She started painting in 1987 under the supervision of the Iranian master Aydin Aghdashloo.
Alikhanzadeh lives and works in
Tehran where she regularly exhibits.
She has taken part in over 30
exhibitions and art fairs in North
America, Europe and the Middle
East since 1995. In addition to
her works being part of important
private collections worldwide, two
works from her Carpet series were
acquired by the Los Angeles County
Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2010.
BEING FASCINATED WITH THE ISSUES OF IDENTITY AND REALITY
IN RELATION TO PAST AND PRESENT AND FINDING INSPIRATION IN THE
MELANCHOLIC AND HUMORISTIC QUALITY OF OLD IMAGES,
ALIKHANZADEH USES OLD FOUND PHOTOGRAPHS, MAINLY FAMILY
PHOTOS OF THE 1940S AND 1950S TO CREATE HER ARTWORKS.
WHEREAS INITIALLY SHE USED PHOTOGRAPHS IN HER COLLAGE
WORK, IN HER LATEST WORKS HER IMAGES ARE PRINTED DIGITALLY
ON EITHER WOODEN BOARDS OR PERSPEX. BY USING MIRRORS, SHE
PLAYFULLY MANAGES THE VIEWERS’ OWN PRESENCE IN THE WORK. THAT
PRESENCE ITSELF IS MANIPULATED EVEN FURTHER THROUGH THE
USAGE OF DIAGONAL MIRRORS IN ORDER TO CREATE DISTORTED
AND UNREAL IMAGES IN SOME OF HER LATER WORKS. SHE ENJOYS
EXPERIMENTING WITH NEW MATERIALS, AND IN ADDITION TO HER MAIN
AND RECURRING TOOLS OF MIRRORS AND ACRYLIC, SHE
IS ALSO KEEN ON USING REAL CARPETS IN SOME OF HER WORKS
She deals with memory with an eye on the future
Always finding inspiration in old found photographs and laying emphasis on their eternalising role, as well as her perpetual interest in the magic of image has led Alikhanzadeh to create another collection of mesmerising art pieces.
In her latest body of work, the
artist examines the fading quality of
memory and visualises her theme
metaphorically by creating fading
imagery. Her use of metal mesh as
the base of her entire series – a
material she started to observe in
2014 – gives her the opportunity to
imply the transitory state she wants
to portray as the figures on the mesh,
like ghosts or memories, imply a vague
state of being visible and nonvisible.
Samira Alikhanzadeh’s work took a twist three years ago when she started to reinterpret the relationship between existence and non-existence. She who was always fascinated with the issues of identity and reality in relation to past and present took on a new tone through her use of new material. This is when the opportunities metal mesh could provide inspired her. By cutting out her portraits from their background in the old photos and placing them on a mesh, she started guiding the viewers to seek a visual narrative instead of looking at a frozen moment. By surrounding the portraits with her signature mirror fragments, Alikhanzadeh once again mixes past and present and leaves the viewers to experience their alienating emotion. In fact, she combines the nostalgic feel with an observant approach, giving her audience the chance to project back the abstracted image into present space and time.
In her third solo show with Assar gallery, Samira Alikhanzadeh uses 19 different artworks to portray her idea of fading memory. In a dress made out of metal mesh, an installation of a standing woman, a pile of suitcases including the image of a woman and her other works, she defocuses the portraits and highlights the objects as tools to remind us of the fading figures. She turns the physical act of seeing to a dialogue and a mutual relationship between those who do not exist (or exist through their images) and the viewers who presently exist but will pass away eventually. The combination of printed images and mirror, different layers of images and images with varied degree of clarity are all different means to achieve this objective.
VENICE BIENNALE – Samira Alikhanzadeh
LOCATION: Fondaco Marcello, San Marco
Alikhanzadeh is taking part in the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale), in the Iranian Pavilion, dubbed Of Being and Singing, in Venice, Italy.
A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS, 21 ARTISTS AND A BIENNIAL #49, PAGES 134-139.