Afshin Chizari
Opening: January 9, 2015

PRESS RELEASE

January 9 – February 2 2015

The invention of photography forever killed the desire for immortality in us. Photographs kill and transform subjects to objects. They slaughter us in our family photo albums and create museum-like objects. We take photographs and collect them in our albums so that we can later remember those moments, but in truth we forget most of them.   In his most recent collection, “Taxidermy,” the artist wanders around in his small museum of family images. He paints those photos and scrutinizes those images. In his prints, he once again transcends photographic instances. He tries to summon his past by searching through old photos. But in this photographic process, he loses, and the failure followed by the extraction of meaning makes him distort, as photographs do and destruct, as time does. The pictured portraits are old and aged in time, as though the artist remembers a future that there is no reference of in these photos. Some things from the “past” are removed, some things from the “present” are added and in the end, “past,” “present,” and “future,” come together. While the artist is celebrating his childhood memories, he is also destroying them. By portraying the image of himself and others repeatedly, he escapes the differences. At the end, what we are left with are oil canvases with frozen and static portraits of “others” that we have lost sight of in layers of colors. It’s as though the passage of time has left its trace on their faces; nameless people that in a way are implicit representations of himself. His final images, as Barrett says, are photographs void of codes. They are images devoid of meaning. Images that are destroyed, forgotten and distorted. They are no longer self-portraits of the artist but instead portraits of each and every viewer. They are everyone and no one. The collection, “Taxidermy,” is a mourning for loss. The loss of people, the loss of childhood, the loss of identity …

It’s the struggle of an artists who recreates himself in the awe of a Creator and loses himself among others and ultimately loses himself once more, but this time somewhat consciously.

Golara Jahanian