A short talk with Amir Mobed about Installation
Amir Mobed is a painting-graduate from Tehran Azad University. He was born in 1975 and held his first solo exhibition on 1996. He is best known for his installations and the mushrooms on the park-museum of the contemporary art in particular. Not forgetting his sculptures which are also popular on a different level using different materials such as wood, metal, wax and textures.
We had a talk about installation in his studio. He is not a show-off artist who looks for attention and does not aim at proving to be an intellect and far subsiding from the ordinary people. Although he is rather different I might admit. He tries to act normal and investigate issues from his own point of view. I tried to be precise and focus on his attitudes and complains in the present talk.
How would you describe, define or interpret installation?
It is not definable you know. Each person has his/her own definition based on his/her attitude.
As for the description; the contextual meaning of installation is “spatiality”. As an artist, do you get to manipulate or set one single definite part, or the whole space in general?
Installation comprises a set of things inviting the audience in.
On the contrary to the two-dimensional paintings or three-dimensional sculptures, the audience is not facing the artwork, but rather is positioned inside. You enter the artist’s mind.
The installations are mostly pure forms. It has come to my interest that they have turned into pure concepts recently. The concepts could include any aspects; social, political, cultural, moral and every and all artists’ concerns.
Does that mean paintings and sculptures cannot meet such purposes?
Not completely, yet there are other concerns nowadays and they might not totally afford to demonstrate the concepts.
I have studied painting. Then I followed sculptures. I turned to installation afterwards because sculptures could not satisfy me anymore. Though I turned back to sculptures for specific reasons which I would mention later.
When I finish something, I will not go back; I would totally liberates myself of the whole thing. It’s sad but true! My progress might be a result of such approach.
A typical question would be about your purpose and I have to ask it though I don’t like it either! What is it going to be eventually?
I enjoy when I work. That’s all!
We are not supposed to change the world then, are we?
The issue we have is that nothing is in its own place. Not everybody do their own job appropriately. I am supposed to be an artist if I claim to be one. It is the same with a taxi driver and/or a doctor. We could have not end up as a third-world country otherwise.
I am not much interested in negotiations with foreign countries. I was never into sending emails so they could invite me over. Those I took part in, were the group exhibitions and I was invited to the rest. I’d like to concentrate on my work. My English language skills wouldn’t improve every time I tried. Perhaps because it was not a priority for me. And I don’t have the motivation either.
And the audience?
I have presented my work in the free space, though I could have chosen the interior space of Iran Contemporary Art museum. And that is because I care about the ordinary audience as well.
I am not insisting on localizing or anything. I am working with lots of difficulties in my country and that speaks for itself!
To produce an Iranian artworks, does not only mean to indicate the traditional motifs or calligraphy. Simple typographies and calligraphies would be considered as the first-impressioned, most popular (Iranian) art because of the capital (Arab) auctions. It is warmly received even though it is not new in Europe. In which auction the artwork is sold is not a matter of concern.
Still in Iran you would be asked if you have sold any at Christy’s. Give me a break!
You have to work hard for your own art if you consider yourself an artist. Not just to participate in Christy’s.
How different you think you are?
Different? Not much I guess. How am I supposed to know whether I know more than you do?
I guess you have preserved your own status!
It is not about that. I don’t tend to compare myself with the passive public though.
If you wake up one day and find the whole world different, could it be possible that it is a result of your work?
I do not think so! It does not work like that! You have to live so you can pay for your next project.
Critics emphasize on the fact that I emphasize on the form. Yes, I was a sculptor and the form was prior to the concept for me. Yet I turned back to sculptures simply because my installations were large in scale and I had no (financial) support. I work anyway because I have to earn money. I decided to make sculptures regarding the experience I had and I am happy with that. My sculptures are considered significant each in my recent exhibition.
My friend has a small booth in Laleh bazar. I used to stop by and have tea. I thought to myself there must be something here, this space lacks something.
Why mushrooms and not carrots? Was it just the form or the concept?
It’s a matter of concept. Mushroom is a one-night-growing plant. It grows abruptly and it grows fast.
Many people thought there are real mushrooms growing in the garden-museum of contemporary art!
Interestingly, they did not realise why they were just there and not other places.
Where are they now?
Four or five have been sold and the rest are here in the basement.
Why do we have few sculptors?
Because it needs financial support, place and of course perseverance.
Many apply installation and performance together, along with music and etc. recently, have you had any thoughts?
No I did not feel the necessity.
I can observe a specific and dominance silence and stillness in your works. Is it because of not feeling the need?
Precisely! It is stillness and silence. I believe it is not just about traditional motifs in Iran. At least not for those who think deeper.