@ The Flat – Massimo Carasi
via Paolo Frisi, 3 (MM Porta Venezia) – Milano 20129 – ITALY
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Let’s meet Iranian artist Hiva Alizadeh through the two exhibitions held at The Flat – Massimo Carasi gallery. The first ‘Nomad Chants’ in 2019 and the second ‘Fire in the Garden of Eden’ in 2023.
FIRE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, 2023 (The Flat – Massimo Carasi)
Tehran, 15 March 2023: it is the celebration of CHAHARSHANBE SURI. These are the days leading up to NOWRUZ, the Persian New Year.
Chaharshanbe Suri is the celebration of fire, and Hiva is preparing, like many people in Middle Eastern countries, to celebrate it.
In Iran, the Sacred Fire or Atash-e-Ghods is an important cultural and religious symbol celebrated for thousands of years.
The Chaharshanbe Suri is a fundamental and founding festival for all Persian culture: it is even said to date back 15,000 years and has never been abandoned; it is extolled by the Zoroastrians, but even in Islamic times it is not cancelled: it is the festival of purification and prepares for the New Day.
The exhibition was born from this premise: a new era advancing with the New Day, thanks to the purification of fire.
It is well known that fire is a fascinating and catalysing force with its movements, colours and warmth.
Fire illuminates Hiva as he admires it enraptured. He contemplates it.
The exhibition is a eulogy to fire as a sacred element of purification and life.
In our society, fire now has meanings that are more reminiscent of tragedy and destruction, but in the past it guaranteed salvation, to protect oneself from ferocious animals, to heat one’s caves or dwellings, and of course to cook and thus feed oneself.
But here we speak of the fire in the Garden of Eden. This is the sacred fire that purifies and becomes Symbol.
Indeed, symbolism pervades the exhibition and the artist has created his own symbolic alphabet, which was consolidated as the abstract works took shape.
Throughout this cycle, the upper band of ‘paintings’ is characterised by the colour black.
Black is considered by the artist to be the All, the Universe, infinite and eternal, and in this regard he adds: “It is thanks to the darkness that one can admire the brilliance of the firmament. The darkness of the night sky is complementary to the Light that makes the stars shine.”
Hiva quotes Rumi, the 13th century Persian mystic poet, “both darkness and light are the dance of Love”.
And that light, in the exhibition, is symbolised by the fire that rips through the darkness.
Flames are found at the bottom of each work, with tongues reaching upwards, to the Supreme, and purifying everything around them.
It is incredible to note how the locks of synthetic hair with which Hiva Alizadeh composes her ‘paintings’ manage to evoke and synthesise the sinuous movement of the tongues of fire and their impalpable, voluptuous volume.
Similarly, flowing hair, in numerous shades of blue and azure, resembles the waters that flow biblically from the Garden of Eden.
Lively and vital, the flowing water is a substance charged with power, also capable of purification. The colours in the Garden of Eden are therefore bright and lustrous, purified by the two aforementioned forces.
Fire and water -still two complementary elements- are untamable and without fixed form. As they move, they are never the same, which is why we are fascinated to watch them and admire their dance, and then surrender to their sounds and enveloping sensations.
The brightly coloured hair manages to offer these same sensations of enchanting movement.
Hiva Alizadeh, like the poet Rumi, of whom he is a devotee, invites us to venture into the ‘Ultrasensible’ world, rich in vibrations and sensations: the invisible is much larger and more important than the visible.
“Fire in the Garden of Eden’ is the second solo exhibition that the Iranian artist presents at The Flat-Massimo Carasi gallery in Milan.
Hiva Alizadeh’s work is rooted in the Persian tradition and millenary skill of weaving Kerman carpets, although she applies her technique and knowledge by using a different material to create a contemporary interpretation of a weave, adding a cosmopolitan and psychic touch. Alizadeh’s woven tapestries are created using synthetic hair extensions that he composes in vibrant neon colour palettes.
Alizadeh’s work is held in public and private collections in Europe, the Middle East, China and the USA. Some of his works are part of important institutions and foundations such as, AKZONOBEL Art Foundation – Amsterdam, The Netherlands, PALAZZO MONTI, Brescia, Italy, FREDERICK R. WEISMAN Art Foundation – Los Angeles, USA, SPRING Collection, KERMAN Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran and most recently The Ned Doha Art Collection.
NOMAD CHANTS, 2019 (The Flat – Massimo Carasi)
This is not a lock of hair ……
Over the last three thousand years, people from different cultures have produced colours by interweaving organic and
industrial materials visions, symbols, decorative codes, stories, identities, emotions.
Hiva Alizadeh (Iran 1989) “paints” colour landscapes, portions of spaces with multi-coloured locks of synthetic hair
to capture the essence of our global age from her nomadic culture inherent in Iranian carpets of immediate aesthetic seduction. From the art of weaving in his millenary tradition, in the morphology of the enchanting Iranian landscape, in the texture of the tiles of oriental mosques, songs, sounds, customs and traditions, the self-taught Iranian Kurdish artist, a former documentary filmmaker, takes inspiration to elaborate works indicative of complex cultural mechanisms, with locks of nylon hair in which East and West interpenetrate. His pop-poverty mats containing a vivid array of colours are to be touched, combed, as well as looked at. A series of “tapestries” woven with brightly coloured synthetic hair enclosed in formal solutions float in the white space of The Flat Massimo Carasi gallery (Milan), where Hiva Alizadeh’s first solo exhibition is presented with codes akin to pixel language drawn from digital culture, with a visual and tactile appeal in which fibres, dyes and techniques suggest evocations of journeys beyond time and space. An idea is first and foremost a linguistic synthesis of different spheres of experience, each of his works implies a cultic exchange, and in the ways of using synthetic locks of hair, colour after colour, further layers of meaning are added, poetics, sensibility and aesthetic tension of the author to explore links between geographical references and different worlds and ways of imagining the carpet as a global icon of travel and spiritual meditation par excellence, in which Iranian traditions weave relations with Western synthetic materials produced since the second half of the 20th century. The replacement of the colour palette with multicoloured synthetic fibres implies a reflection on the expressive value of the material itself as a metaphor for different experiences related to commerce, technology and different social structures discovered through the artist’s journey, in which the elsewhere is his ideal harbour. His works so similar to natural colour landscapes present a form of “glocal realism” in the choice of synthetic fibres, limiting and qualifying an indeterminate space with a new “impressionist” painting matrix charged with evoking perceptive subjectivities. They are “carpets” saturated with light sensations, harnessing the breath of the wind in which the distance between tradition and contemporaneity is cancelled, and in the apparent awareness of the ephemeral, in the chromatic sensation, between one hair and the next, as in a film the story of instants flows, fragments of life that tied together give rhythm to time. In his cascades of hair in luminous tones, matter becomes the dynamic element and visual seduction at the same time, it becomes pictorial space that opens up, expands in the dazzling light emanating from the colours. Natural and artificial, matter and light, rhythm and trespassing between painting and sculpture materialise imperceptible depths with works of lyrical and poetic abstraction that would have seduced Claude Monet and influenced the imagination of Alighiero Boetti.
The landscape can be an extremely volatile and ephemeral subject. The sky is constantly changing, nature is never still, colorus are repeatedly transforming and, consequently, our perception is also affected.
Often, when we have the impression of having caught a static image, it has already become something else. It can happen almost imperceptibly, but it is a relentless dynamic.
Sometimes we remember the smells of the landscape, the noises of the place, our body temperature when we were immersed in it, the emotions that gave us. All this leads us to create an overall idea of the scenario we have experienced, which is not always a precise picture of what we have actually seen. What appears in our minds is an internalized vision.
This feeling seems to emerge from the works of Hiva Alizadeh, who offers us not merely a reproduction of some landscapes belonging to his native land, rather the perception he had in observing and walking through them.
The artist features works which, although intended to be hung on the wall, have an actual sculptural character. These are canvases on which strands of synthetic hair of infinite shades of colour are hand-sewn. Weaving is a traditional and ancient practice, but it belongs here more than ever to the present, because of the material used, which is definitely not canonical and undoubtedly related to our contemporary era.
There are countless overlaps made by the artist in the arrangement of the coloured threads, and it is precisely this that gives a marked three-dimensional effect to the works.
The sensation is the one of being in front of changing, vibrant and almost visionary landscapes, landscapes that, although speaking of emotions and personal sensations, are endowed with a strong and suggested tactility. Sceneries, those of Hiva, that even though they seem impalpable are the result of a dense material combination and that, despite the shocking and almost pop colours, express all the delicacy of an interiority that wishes to make itself manifest.
Back.to.hole Giulia Frattini