Tue 24 Oct 2023 to Sat 23 Dec 2023
Artist: Morvarid K
First solo show by Iranian artist Morvarid K at the gallery, this exhibition, entitled "This Too Shall Pass", is a continuation of the one held at the Musée de l'Église Saint-Vincent in Mérignac (France), and follows on from the Bibliothèque nationale de France's acquisition of three works from the same series. It also allows us to extend the scope of the series to the scale of our space, as it was partially exhibited in Amsterdam last September during a highly acclaimed participation at the Unbound by Unseen fair.
Born in Teheran in 1982, Morvarid K's attachment to Iranian identity is the foundation of her relationship with the world and her artistic sensibility. Through the manipulation of photographic material, her work questions our relationship to the world, transformative memory and the in-between. The photographic medium is the starting point, anchoring his work in reality, while superimposition and transformation techniques provide the additional expressions that photography cannot capture.
Overwhelmed by the images of the fires in Australia in 2019 and 2020, Morvarid K feels the compelling need to go there and see the static, silent, empty landscapes, to witness the overwhelming absence of life, to confront what remains despite the devastation. Begun in Australia in 2020 and continued in France in 2021 and 2022, the "This too shall pass" series questions the complexity of human perception, the adjustment mechanism that enables us to tame the brutal, the destructive, to make Thanatos bearable.
The project is divided into three phases: the persistence of the past, recounting the initial difficulty of accepting the destruction caused by the fire; the trace of the present, the moment of awareness and the desire to be as close as possible to the problem in order to understand it better; and, finally, the weaving of the future, the moment when the subject slips into the background and our attention turns to other things, even though the mega-fires persist.
At the first sight of this devastated landscape, a kind of denial sets in, characterized by visual compensation, a reassuring retinal persistence replacing black with green. A mental weave that fades to reveal the real.
It's time to take the measure of things, to gather a tangible trace through body-to-body contact. Morvarid K collects the charred imprints of charred tree trunks, wrapping them in photographic prints made in situ. The silent voice of the trees mingles with his photographic writing. These impressions are materialized by the transition from a monochrome risograph (strong contrast between green and black) to a color print on Kuzo paper (which softens the features and camouflages the black), thus underlining the beginning of the subject's slide into oblivion. An installation of charcoal from various burnt forests completes the picture.
Finally comes the time of the subject's trivialization, illustrated by the use of photographic fragments with burnt outlines, representing the bark of living trees. In this body of work, this dense mass heralds and denounces the intensification of fires. The burnt contours and gradual disappearance of the image in favor of an empty, white space underline the destruction of the forests, as well as the fading of the subject in our minds.
In Morvarid K's work, the print becomes a material, a stage in the creative process, before the gesture or performative experience completes the work. As a visual artist and performer, Morvarid K attempts to desacralize the print, not hesitating to cover her prints almost entirely with small pen strokes. Paradoxically, photographic paper is sublimated, and the physical act of printing, traditionally dedicated to the darkroom, is deported or extended beyond its walls.
A gorgeous book, published by the(M) éditions, accompanies the exhibition. It is printed in an edition of 200 copies, all unique, with each of the book's covers designed by the artist with an original print fragment.
Works from this series can also be seen in the "Epreuves de la Matière" exhibition at the BnF, from October 10, 2023 to February 4, 2024.