Written by: Rania Jishi (Dubai)*
Between the beauty of the sculpture, and the unfortunate truth behind it, I wondered. Is the man standing tall in an attempt to defy the humiliation forced upon him? Or is he standing tall as a denial of the fact that he accepted, willingly, the humiliation?
Dubai’s busy lifestyle makes it extremely challenging sometimes to attend the many wonderful art shows. Especially, during the Art season in Dubai, when it becomes even more challenging to make it to the many spectacular openings within a week, but nonetheless, it is definitely worth it.
Following a busy day, I was fortunate to view the spectacular work of the internationally acclaimed artist Reza Aramesh: The Whistle of the Soul, A Play That Never Starts curated by Ali Bakharti at Leila Heller Gallery (Dubai). I try not to think about what I’m going to see before I enter, I just allow his work to surprise me as usual. One step inside the warehouse and you will see it all: The big space surrounded by the black painted warehouse walls, nothing but space, and that piece… one misleading, eye grabbing piece of white, almost glowing, marble in the middle of the dark space. It took me a second there before I took another step toward it for more.
Action 137:6:45p, 3May 2012, Ramla
Masculine figure, 2/3 the actual size of an upright standing man, on a concrete plinth. The face covered with a shirt, trousers pulled down till the ankles, leaving the rest of the body exposed, except for that last piece left in place, his underwear. Despite of what is humanly known as a humiliating form of torture. The man, in the figure, still stands tall and unaffected by the attempt of humiliation.
Action 136:’Put this in your record: I’m present’
Looking to the left, there was a wall of glass standing between three projected images and me. Each image was projected from a separate Kodaslide projector. In each projection there is a picture a man blindfolded out publicly, and hands tied.
Between the beauty of the sculpture, and the unfortunate truth behind it, I wondered. Is the man standing tall in an attempt to defy the humiliation forced upon him? Or is he standing tall as a denial of the fact that he accepted, willingly, the humiliation? But then, I looked again and noticed that the hands are not tied.
I left the event with one thought on my mind. Where is? Or more likely, who is the torturer…
About Artist Reza Aramesh
Born in Ahwaz (Iran) 1970, Reza Aramesh left his hometown at the age of 15 and currently based in London. The internationally acclaimed artist completed his undergraduate study in Chemistry, but later decided to change his career, and so, he completed his masters in Fine Arts at the Goldsmith College in 1997.
As a Multidisciplinary artist, he uses a variety of art mediums. From sculpture to site-specific installation, even photography, which is his most preferred medium. His work has been featured in solo shows in London at he Royal academy of Arts, The Barbican Centre, Tate Britain and the ICA. For more information about Reza Aramesh, visit Leila Heller Gallery.
About Curator Ali Bakhtiari
(Source: Leila Heller Gallery) Ali Bakhtiari started his career as a curator in 2008 with a retrospective of Faramarz Pilaram at Gallery 66 in Tehran. He has curated numerous exhibitions at renowned spaces worldwide such as Saatchi Gallery, London, Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, Shirin NY, New York and Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai. Most recently, he co-curated a seminal retrospective paying tribute to the late Iranian artist Assurbanipal Babilla in Tehran.
Bakhtiari currently runs an independent art project called “ABBookness” which focuses on the production of artist books. He lives and works between Tehran and Dubai.
* About Rania Jishi: Artist and Writer based in Dubai (UAE). Holds BA in Visual Communications · Studio Art · from American University in Dubai. Jishi participated in many events held by Art Dubai such as: Event Production Assistant for Sikka Art Fair (2012), Coordinator in Sikka Art Fair (2013) and Tour Guide for Children in Art Dubai 2014. She translates art documents and Press Releases for numerous art galleries in Dubai also works as Fashion Illustrator and Co-Founder of FikrClub, Arabic Book Reading Club.