It’s All about the Pain…

November 18th, 2011

Aseman weekly, No. 93

Zarvan Rouhbakhshan

Amir Mobed is an artist, working on sculptures and installations for some time now. His performances have followed a special genre in our modern art within the past two years. Whether it is a valuable or invaluable attitude in the long run term is not yet clear to me. What is clear, is that he is among those performers who have set social themes as a foundation for their ideas and performances. Mobed’s performances have been very moving and impressive, and in some cases the influence has been so immediate that resulted in emotional rush that triggered negative reactions among the audience. He had the performance of “Public (Obligatory Military) Service” in Mohsen gallery last July. He succeeded in what has been mentioned in the statement; the aggressive and exaggerating attitude in his moves and the effort to show the maximum level of violence and disregarding the rights of others. He performed “Come Caress Me!”, an adoption of a work by Chris Burden in Tarahan-e Azad gallery. A blowgun was given to the audience to shoot the artist who had worn a white dress and a silver cover, standing in front of a large target mat. There were guidelines on the ground to specify where the shooter should stand. On the closest line, it read: “I’m in love with you!”, “I love you!” on the middle line and “I hate you!” on the last line on the ground. The audience was free to choose. They could have loved the artist or hated him. They even could actually choose whether to shoot or not. Some shot him because they believed no one especially the artist would get hurt in a gallery site which is in nature an artistic institution. The colourful target mat behind the artist was also suggesting the idea of a circus show running. Some refused to take the gun and shoot and disobeyed the orders. There were fifty shots at the sum, ten of which hit the artist. One amongst the audience eventually broke the gun in a “show off” so the violation ends. In this performance as well, violation was the main issue. By taking such position, the artist showed us that how much each of us could act ourselves or be affected by the situation and act violently. A violation, not of our nature, not much hidden in our society has become normalized. On February 11th of 2011, Amir Mobed performed the “50% off” at Tarahan-e Azad gallery. The artist was pressed tight by red fabric to one of the pillars in the gallery. The fabric covered the pillar and his body and it was tied so tight that his ribs could be seen from underneath. His face and his nose in particular was under so much pressure that he could not easily breathe. He was in this situation for over three hours. Here also, violation is the issue, yet there is something beyond. And that is pain! The pain that human kind is undergone in the present world. The hardship of such condition might get us to think that physical pain could mend the mental pain. Yet the world today is so complicated that most of us might feel that we are living in a sado-masochistic world, part of which is regenerated in this performance. On the evening of November 11th, Mobed had another performance called “Field” at Mohsen gallery. There were gallows in the yard with the artist posing to hang from it with a rope around the neck while there was a red ice cube instead of a stool, with his eyes covered by a black fabric ribbon. By the time passing, the ice cube was melting and so the pressure on his throat was increasing. The red flow, metaphorically bleeding, from the ice cube was exaggerating the tragedy of the scene and the slogan. Still, this red blood color, had impressed many. Their reaction this time was objection and resistance. It was acceptable on one hand; as if Mobed’s audience knew he could object and act violently a bit, and on the other hand, the reactions were mostly based on the emotional rush rather than believing in the fact that one could actually object or disobey. This is also a matter of violence and living in a painful situation. Nonetheless, I believe such issue is much more impressive in “50%off” performance. Eventually, the blood, fury and the exaggerated violation makes the audience uncomfortable anyway. Yet suffering and accepting the pain as art seems to be more convincing, as it is in the real life.  

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