The ongoing exhibition at Foundry Downtown titled Venti, Aurae, Anima – Spirit of Fluidity (Nov. 23, 2022 – Jan. 18) includes an international board of artists from Kazakhstan, France, Sweden and Iran.
Iranart: They present a new perspective on the theme of flow and inspiration, addressing ques¬tions of metaphysics and spirituality; the exhibition asks fundamental questions about Nature of life, material world, and eidos (the distinctive expression of the cognitive or intellectual character of a culture or social group), where the main metaphor is breath as the raison d’etre of life.
“The very act of breathing,” says the organisers, “weaves all living things into inexorable stream of interactions, and just as we share this vast ocean of air with each other, we also exist in an environment, albeit heterogeneous, of images – visually perceptible or symbolic - images that are immanent to our existence within the world: they circulate between our internal sensibilities and external forms.” In an era of geopolitical turmoil in the world, the show, in a way, serves as a space for healing, contemplating the beauty of coming together, sharing and being united in grief.
We only truly actualise when interacting with the Other; we spontaneously and inevitably attribute some¬thing inner to what is given to sense as outer. This ever-changing relentless flow of metaphoric “air” makes us feel alive,” says curator Madina Sergazina. “The exhibition sees its intention in overcoming the inertia of words regarding hectic times we live in,” she adds. “We would rather prefer the aesthetic not to become an anaesthetic for reality, when we, mesmerised by it, turn into cal¬lous solipsists.
“Art and beauty are not meant to be solely entertaining. Beauty is about hope. It has a unique force of restoring the will to live. To be distracted from one’s day-to-day existence by beauty is quite wrong; yet, to find a whole new level of involvement into the world through it - is right.” One of the participating artists is Dina Baitassova, a multi-linguist who lives through day-to-day nomadic existence - her work traverses cultures and disci¬plines, drawing inspiration from a rigorous engagement with the world.
Her practice revolves around journaling, self-analysis, mixing contemporary narratives, technology and science, to mythology. After studying fine arts at the Sorbonne in Paris in early 2000s and living there for another decade, she returned back to her home: the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan; she is now based in the UAE. A major characteristic of the artist’s oeuvre is a strong presence of cross-modality, especially olfactive effects. Colour also plays a huge role in Baitassova’s work.
“For me,” she says, “colour is almost a being in itself - organic or artificial, it doesn’t matter. I spend a lot of time trying to see it separately or with other ones. Colour can be a guide to the subconscious, which we see throughout the history of art. I try not to over-spiritualise all this - but there are some phenomena people just experience on another level.” She has exhibited widely; recent exhibitions and residencies include July - August 2022 - National Geological History Museum, Meteora, Greece; group show In Flux - curated by Ainalaiyn Space, the contemporary arts organisation based in London and in August 2022 - Marina Abramovic Institute: “Cleaning the house” workshop (Hudson, USA). Fredrik Nielsen from Sweden, is another of the participating artists.
His works, made in glass, are predominantly experimental, and can be said to be made in defiance of what is perceived as perfect. Weighty yet spontaneous, Nielsen’s creations carry marks - almost scars - that are inflicted during their making. What may appear rough and unfinished, remains part of the final piece. The intention is to not abuse the glass but to take it to its limits, questioning the role of the artist and how the pieces sit within the world of art and craft. Neilsen first studied glass at the Orrefors Glass School in Sweden and then went on to the Pilchuch Glass School in Washington and the Royal Insti¬tute of Art in Stockholm.
He has also been the Artist-in-Residence at the Corning Museum of Glass, USA. Louis-Cyprien Rials studied theatre in France before discovering photography in Japan, where he lived for several years. In 2007, he embarked on a journey in the footsteps of the painter Hiroshige, to deliver a comparative analysis of the Japanese landscape over time. Back in Europe, he is also undertaking long stays in conflict zones and areas forbidden to the public which he sees as an “involuntary natural parks”.
His work has been presented in various institutions such as the Musre d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2021), the Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2019), the African Museum of Belgrade (2022) and Untitled, Center of Pho¬tographic art, Maison Jamsheer (2014, Muharraq, Kingdom of Bahrain). Tahmineh Monzavi is a socially conscious photographer who began her profes¬sional career as a documentary photographer in 2005.
In her professional life, with her collection of pho¬tographs and her harmonious approach to her environment and her time, she created her own style to capture and explore the fields of Artistic and Documentary photography - honestly and fearlessly. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), MAXXI museum of Roma, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, besides others. Monzavi lives and works in Tehran and is represented by Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris.
By: Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer/ gulf today