Foad Alijani

Exhibition Review: “Criticism of Reminiscence and Equation Exhibitions”
By Mahmoud Maktabi, Asia Newspaper, no. 708 (February 16, 2016).

The reason why I was falling down from my house roof into the canal was gravity, which was more powerful than my authority (Bas Jan Ader, Avalanche, 1971).

These days, writing about contemporary artists and their works is so hard and complicated. Also, we cannot judge what an artist is doing just by one of his works. Foad Alijani is a young artist that maybe we don’t see much of, but his two exhibitions show that we have to pay attention to his work more deeply. He knows the rules of this kind of art and because of this, he has neat works; also, all of them are free from exaggeration.

Alijani, in two exhibitions; Reminiscence and Equation, invites us to an environment where its power of attention is greater than our own. In the words of Jan Ader, due to its simplicity, we fall within this space. Common aspects of these two exhibitions are creating atmosphere, using lights, and audience participation. In both exhibitions, the audience is not faced with different artwork; they are faced with atmosphere and inner universality.

In the Reminiscence exhibition, the artist tries to evoke the audience’s emotions, but the important point is that we are not faced with a predetermined story. In other words, the artist, instead of storytelling for his audience, exposes a memory or his personal feelings to them. Signs have particular relationships together, so each audience member can have different concepts. Although the atmosphere has completely changed, we can see the simplicity in the Equation exhibition, too. In the Equation exhibition, in contrast with the Reminiscence exhibition, where the artist pays attention to emotions, blue lights force us to think. In this exhibition, beside the abstract wooden structures, lights and shadows create the exhibition’s universality. There is no specific sign such as an umbrella; instead, something new is added to the atmosphere, which is the Human-Object. Although in the Reminiscence exhibition the presence of the artist is not ineffective, in the Equation exhibition we face a different presence of the artist, the presence where body and form are discussed. The artist shapes space by using a hostess, but we shouldn’t take her rehearsed behavior seriously. In Equation, we are facing a complicated image that shows Foad Alijani’s mental complexity more than performance. The audience can see one woman and one man’s motions in a room, and at the same time, they can watch a movie on the wall based on the woman and man’s motions. These images are exactly like two mirrors with repeated images to infinity, the image of a complex labyrinth.

Foad Alijani could be more effective by escaping from inducing concepts and messages to the audience, and this is a good point of his first step in a new arena. These two exhibitions are as pleasant as short and effective books, so if we put them in a context of technical and executive rules, they lose their pleasure.

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