I just work!

Mohammadreza Shahrokhi

An exhibition of the sculptures was held at Laleh gallery for eleven days in November. Artworks by Kambiz Esmaeil Sharif, Kamran Esmaeil Sharif, Kamran Etminani, Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar, Mohammad Bahabadi, Homayoun Sabeti Motlagh, Mohammadreza Zabihollah zadeh, Azad Karim Rasouli, Parvaneh Soltani, Houman Salimi, Arab-ali Sherveh, Ali Ghiasvand, Abdonaser Geev and Amirahmad Mobed were exhibited. Through Amirahmad Mobed’s efforts they have all been gathered and presented as a group exhibition supervised by Parviz Tanavoli. Born in 1974 in Shahrood, Mobed started his artistic experiences with Qan Beigi at art school. Graduated from Azad university in Painting, initiated his professional career in the field of sculpture in 1995. We interviewed him because he was the founder of the exhibition.

What is your definition of sculpture?

It is a bit hard to define.

I do not mean to present a general definition so that we have it as a new frame. What I mean is what features does sculpture have for you?

The concept of sculpture is a form specifying a space to itself with labels like statues and etc. This definition has undergone many changes so far. I’m concerned about the space in that I can reach a volume so it could be my major form. I am interested in being involved with the space with which the audience is directly involved. I create a space which is basically an installation and the audience would be inside the work rather than in the front.

Do you consider that space as part of the sculpture?

As I said, because the audience would be inside the artwork, it would have a greater impact. Sculpture has its own framework. This exhibition is distanced from such spatial concerns.

But some works look closer to spatial concerns.

That is right. I tried to deconstruct the framework. The sculpture shares a very thin surface with the stand. Volumes being suspended originates from my involvement with the space.

How much works that look closer to space-creation could penetrate the Iranian concept of space? There has always been a narrative in our art and in sculpture in particular. We have a vast background in the reliefs rather than sculptures. How much you are concerned about that?

I disagree with you. I am against this cliché about Iranian/Persian arts. I am an Iranian and I am concerned about it. Hence, there would be an Iranian concept in my work. Disregarding works copied from the western ones with some changes. When we get to know our own society and our own concerns, we would subconsciously have the Iranian essence in the works and there would be no need to push ourselves to do and be like an Iranian. The spatial creation and installation has had a history in our culture and we are all exposed to it during the day, yet not in an artistic sense. It means the artist could not represent such events to the society as art. Of course such events had happened in Saqa-khaneh* movement.

That is what I was talking about. I’d like to know how you would represent such concept in your works. You might not consider it. This is something personal. Yet you claimed there were Saqakhaneh (users) who could continue because of the special features in their works.

Answering this question is very hard I believe. It might be very soon to judge. The course of time will tell. When we speak about the space, when we talk about space and our heritage, we could see a suspended atmosphere present in all fields of art. In miniature with its specific plan, and in Persepolis reliefs and also in decorations there are in different ceremonies. Different symbols and signs used in such space and they would be influential. When (ordinary) people would be inspired when they enter the museum of contemporary art and face the spatial concerns. They often feel bad, they feel happy many times and they are forced to think many times.

Many times they don’t understand!

Yes and it would not be the reason to evaluate a work as good or bad. An artist never degrades himself. It is the society’s duty to promote themselves.

Still, you agree on the fact that he/she has to have an attitude, right?

Absolutely. What matters is the way he/she discusses the issues. Whether it is discussed in a popular way or make people think.

There might be a problem here. Artist’s isolation from the society. The artists consider themselves higher than the society and let themselves do anything they want.

Such thing does not happen if the society is self-aware and start connecting to it. There were artists who were not appreciated at their own time and therefore they were exiled from their society. Yet their words would be understood later. It sometimes would be not real however, and it is hard to realize and tell and we cannot judge whether it is art or not so let time do the judgement.

Regarding what we talked about, I would like to know how you manifest such concerns in the sculptures.

It is not my job to involve myself in social concerns. Artists don’t have to talk about their concerns of their society. Some people discuss the welfare, and some work on promoting the knowledge of visual perception. There has to be a division. I consider the fact that who views my work starts thinking.

Does that mean you consider the audience as the author of the work?

Precisely. I never choose titles for my works. If I do so, the sense would be imposed to the audience before they discover it for themselves. My last work in the museum, planting mushrooms in a green area does not include any concerns. But it is beautiful that people jump in through the fences and take them with themselves. This is how people are involved. It is not something odd. By-passers who saw a great number of mushrooms all of a sudden. Many of my friends suggested to name this “the 21st century”. Worthless people who are just everywhere like mushrooms. I don’t let myself get involved in such issues because it is something hard.

As you mentioned before, there are no boundaries between the fields of modern art such as sculptures, spatial creations and etc. worldwide. Do you think we could have the same thing in Iran and there would be no need for a two or three-decade as a background?

This is our main concern. The happening events and what they have for us. We are left behind the West in technology for almost a century. Is there anything we could do? Should we start inventing computers again? Turn the Hillmans to Peugeots? Shall we go over the process? Should we make the industrial revolution that happened there and not here? This is the concern of us all. Personally, I don’t believe we need to go over the process and we might not be able to. It means we cannot have Michelangelos or Rodins or people who arranged the events one after another until today. I believe we can work with studying our own culture and the knowledge we pick up from west. I don’t think anyone could predict what happens to Iran’s art within fifty years.

Why does the artists always look forward to the West and not East?

We have had several strikes in our cultural history. One could tell regarding the present situation. We are having two categories of artists. Ones who have their beliefs from before the revolution and work as classics, and the other, young artists. Ones who are involved in the daily technology and managing the situation that whether they can have a cultural authenticity, would be the judge of a philosopher or a critic’s. I just think about working which is very important regarding today’s condition.

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